Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Writing Tip Tuesday

Two more tips about character:

  1. The character must be active in the story.
  2. The character should change or grow.

These are about as basic as you can get with a tip, but I have a couple more comments to make about each that are important to remember.

1. The character must be active in the story.

It's important that you don't get caught up in just letting the story happen to the character - letting the character just exist with the action swirling around them - letting the character just observe the story.

The character should be ACTIVE in propelling the story forward - in making the story happen - in altering the direction of the story.

Motto for the day:

The character should drive the story forward.

BUT....

...the character's actions should revolve around the central question or problem.

Personal experience:

When I first had the seed of an idea for Moonpie and Ivy, the "story" was a girl who is abandoned by her mother. Oooo-kaaaay....and? The story is what? Um.....

I realized very early on that Pearl (main character) needed to be instrumental in driving the story forward. She had to DO something. The story couldn't just happen to her.

Thus was born: her relationship with Moonpie and her reaction to it, her acting out (stealing) to gain attention or to demean Moonpie, her quest to understanding the meaning of family, etc.

2. The character must change or grow.

This is Children's Writing 101. But sometimes writers forget that this change or growth should not be TOLD.....

....It should be SHOWN.

The reader should witness the change - not just be told about the change.

1 comment:

susanwrites said...

Thanks for this tip. I need to have it tatooted on my brain.

My MC is TOO NICE. No matter what I do he is too nice. I don't know any kids like him so obviously I'm afraid of something there. Grrr.

This writing stuff, hard work at times. :-)