One of my favorite aspects of writing a new book is character development. I love the process of breathing life into a character, it is a deeply creative endeavor. Character development is a crucial building block in storytelling and essential in the quest to authentically reach your audience. A well developed character can tug on the heart strings of the reader, giving the reader a new perspective whilst whisking them away to a fantasy world or leading the charge bravely into battle.
Thoughts to ponder when developing a character:
What can the reader take away from the story and the experiences of your character?
What are the characters little quirks, likes dislikes?
What make them unique (superpowers, loves adventure, curious)
What do they look like? ( Wears a special hat/ extra long hair?)
Can the reader identify with the characters struggle or accomplishment?
Attribute personal flaws and strengths to your characters.
A well developed character allows the reader to become invested in the outcome of the story, they want to know what happens next and feel immersed in the story instead of feeling that they are merely an observer. A fully formed character cultivates the imaginative space for the reader to become a part of the story.
I also strongly recommend creating a storyboard (especially for children's books!) This creative process creates a snapshot of the journey your characters will take throughout your story. It also outlines the flow of your story from start to finish.
Using a storyboard you can quickly spot inconsistencies and identify if your story is lacking pivotal points or a strong arc. When used properly the storyboard can keep you focused on the task at hand which is creating a story that others would enjoy reading and memorable characters that readers will come to love.
Just like a personal vision board a story board helps you put into perspective the "Big picture."
Storyboards also allow you to identify opportunities to flesh out a character or develop a particular scene. Storyboards can also shine a spot light on areas where your story may be heading a little bit off track or feeling flat.
Tips for Writing Books for Younger Children
The rules for writing books for younger children (ages 2–8) are different from the standard rules for writing books for middle graders or young adults.
Silly is good!
Remember the good guy always wins.
Create well rounded characters, with relatable challenges and emotions.
It’s fine for something to be scary, but it can never touch a little's body.
Ordinary children can do EXTRA-ordinary things.
Everyday/ Mundane objects can become magical.
Additional tip: When you have completed your manuscript read it out loud to a group of kids, if you lose them mid story you know you still have work to do. If they stay engaged from start to finish, laugh or ask questions you are on the right track!
Good luck to all the emerging writers out there. Reach out if you have any additional questions, I am always happy to help! For those of you who are further along in your journey don't forget to read my previous post on query letters! https://www.candiceburrows.com/post/publishing-your-work
All the Energies, Moods and Emotions. XX C.