Thursday, January 12, 2012
Getting to know you
"Mom!" my son called from his bedroom, "My school pants are too small!"
Of course it was the first day of school, and before you chastise me for being a disorganised mother for not making sure that school clothes were in order before the start of the semester, note that it was the first day after the Christmas holidays. Children aren't supposed to grow over the Christmas vacation, are they?
As I write my fourth book in the Caribbean Adventure Series, I am faced with the dilemma of growing children. In my first three books, I let the book lead me. Don't get me wrong, I know my characters well. I can see their faces, expressions and mannerisms in every scene. With book 4, I feel the need to be sure that while the children are impacted by the events that unfold in the story, that they grow and change in a way that makes sense given who they are.
So I am writing a detailed biography of the characters that will hold me in good stead if there are additional books. This includes details on what the characters look like in great detail, where they live and were born, physical quirks, their siblings and parents, weaknesses, and deepest desires and fears. The last item is crucial as the fears are a potential source for conflict in the story and what child does not have interesting an irrational fears? The behavioral traits are the most interesting. How does the character behave differently with adults than with other children, for example; with his friends as against his siblings.
Some of the details may be relevant to this book and some may not, but I believe that the better that I know these children, the better my book will be.
How deep you you dig when creating characters for your books?
(Couldn't resist this one ...