Picture book character in real life

March 18, 2011 at 2:09 pm 1 comment

At yesterday’s book fair/signing at B&N, I met my picture book character in real life.  I’ve written a holiday picture book “Who took my Christmas lights” that I’m currently pitching to editors.  I love my character Talie, for her innovative ways to solve the mystery and her independence and maturity.  But, I’ve wondered if I’ve over-drawn her character to the point of being unbelievable as a seven year old.  Sure, we’re supposed to create strong, exciting characters that readers can look up to and grow to love.  But when does the credibility stop and the implausibility begin? Luckily, Talie, convinced me she was real in Cassidy, a pint-sized second grader I met, who carried on a fascinating conversation with me during my author visit.  I had to keep reminding myself she was seven, as she told me all about her day, the books she was reading, how she loved to illustrate, then proceeded to draw a very convincing dachsund.  I had no doubt after that special encounter,  that my character, Talie, is not only real and fun to be with, but that children will relate to her and be drawn into her world, just as I was drawn into Cassidy’s.  Message to you: Interact with, listen to, and above all else, absorb and remember how different children act and talk so that your character will finally come to life!


Entry filed under: On writing for children, Uncategorized.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Denise Perreault  |  April 22, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Hi Elaine: Great little vignette of your character-to-be. I’m currently reading “Too Far” by Rich Shapero, which features two improbable 6 year-olds. I’m saving this book for you, so you can read what I think are inconsistent characters who act too old AND too young; whose natural Alaska world is nearly their whole world; who just don’t draw much sympathy from the reader. Hard to know whether the book is intended for adults or young adults. Just know that this adult is disappointed. BTW, do you have a new email address? Please note our new address and send me yours. Best to you, Denise



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