Characters in kids books need to experience real emotion that kids can relate to. Today’s 30 day writing challenge has focused on paying attention to the character’s emotions.
One of the wonderful advantages of the internet is unlimited access to information. I continue to be astounded at how many blogs, web sites and ezines focus on the needs of writers. Over the last six months I’ve discovered a few favourites published on a daily basis.These are filled with writing tips enabling me to stay motivated and reminding me what I should be thinking about as I write.
There’s no need for writer’s block with so much motivation around. After I’d finished my quick brainstorm today, I decided to catch up on reading articles from one of my favourite blogs. The daily piece focused on injecting characters with emotion. This is something I tend to be neglectful of at times.
I returned to my brainstorm and jotted down each character’s potential emotional response as the scenes unfolded. How did Janie feel when Fluff failed to appear for several days and again when he did appear in a far from happy state? What about the family cats, did they show any emotion at the non-appearance of their rival for Janie’s affections? There is plenty of opportunity for emotion when Janie comes face to face for the first time with Fluff’s real owner.
By brainstorming the character’s emotions in detail before I start writing I’ve managed to create wider possibilities for the chapter. The story continues to build toward the eventual climax and hopefully kids will want to keep reading to find out what happens next.
The book is based on a common problem for kids, making new friends when they move to a different school. They need to be able to relate to the characters, recognising Janie’s emotions as their own. This gentle reminder from the article I read today means I need to go back and check on how well my characters emotional responses engage the reader in previous chapters.
The 30 day writing project is half complete and continues to be a wonderful learning experience for me. Whether I finish this project on time or not is no longer the driving force. I’m motivated by how important writing on a regular basis has become for me. Janie and Fluff are teaching me so much about myself as a writer. They obviously had a reason for coming into my life.
For more about the 30 day writing project: