Character Development

Breaking the Rules of Character Development

One of the ten commandments of writing is that you must develop your characters! And yet, over the weekend, I saw the Robert Redford film All Is Lost, and it breaks this rule unabashedly. In fact, the story is stronger as a result. How is that possible?! My discussion of how the film defies character development is on…

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99 Problems But the Witch Ain’t One

By Mary Pleiss When I was a little girl, the witches I knew came from fairy tales. They were old, ugly, and mean–life ruiners who cast evil spells with no provocation. My young friends and I ran into the problem of the witch in our play. We didn’t want to meet a witch in a…

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Are You Writing Propaganda?

I was recently reading a book and halfway through it I realized I was reading propaganda! By propaganda, I mean that the author clearly had an idea that he/she wanted to promote with the book and was using the fictional device as a vehicle for that idea. I was simultaneously intrigued and appalled. I was…

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School, Drool, and Other Daily Disasters

School, Drool, and Other Daily Disasters was the title of author Rachel Vail’s keynote speech at the SCBWI LA 2010 Conference. In it she shared her process, writing for middle grade readers, and how to get inside your characters head. Notes from her speech are as follows: Why Do We Read? A book is more…

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How Acting Can Help You To Develop Character

Before becoming a writer, author Rachel Vail, studied acting and theater. Today she may not grace the stages of Broadway but her numerous books showcase her ability to “get into character”, or more accurately create them. During her breakout session at the 2010 SCBWI LA Conference she explained how it might be worth your wild to check…

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Seven Ways to Develop Compelling Characters

Gail Carson Levine, author of Ella Enchanted, spoke at the 2010 SCBWI LA Conference. In her keynote speech she shared the following tips on how to develop your characters. Seven Ways to Create Compelling Characters: 1) What role will my character play? I always start with plot when writing a book, then I think about…

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