Tuesday, February 21, 2012
It Wasn't Obvious To Me
Funny how something so obvious managed to slip past me without even a blip on my radar screen. Thanks to an email from a writing friend, I've had a revelation of sorts in my writing world. She was saying how she seemed to be spending gobs of time developing the characters in her first book - a YA novel. She interviews them, writes about them from their POV, and gets to know who they are and how they'll fit in her story. Not only does she guide her created characters into existence, she lets them guide her. Pretty cool, actually.
I've written some non-fiction pieces for magazines and have understood the importance of knowing my characters - but in non-fiction our characters are REAL; we don't have to create them, but we do have to understand and relate to them. I get that part. Here's where the obvious slipped past me -- I think I figured that writing picture book stories didn't require that same 'get to know your character' thing. I know who my characters are and how I want to portray them, but do I really KNOW them? What's their favorite color, ice cream, or game? Do they have siblings or live with Grandma or have a best friend? True that most of these details won't fit into a PB story, but sometimes not only will they fit, they are the difference between mediocrity and excellency in story telling. Yes? I think I will incorporate some of my friends techniques and get inside my MC's head.
I know I'm new to this, and once again I've probably revealed something that every other writer on the planet already figured out, but just in case I'm not alone I thought I'd fill you in ...