Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Charles Webster Hawthorne-1872-1930--First Mate My daughter is nine years old. Like lots of nine year olds, she loves to poll everyone on their favorites.

And you’d better have an answer.

I haven’t thought very much about my favorite anything for probably the last thirty years.

Until now. :) After several conversations with my daughter that ended with her saying, “How could you not know what your favorite song/color/food/season/book/movie is?!” then I actually took a few minutes to think about it one night.

I was able to make some headway on some of my favorites. I’m partial to yellow, although brown is my favorite color to wear. I like spring. I still wasn’t too sure about a favorite song, book, or movie.

My daughter, though, wasn’t going to leave it at that. Why was spring my favorite season? Had it always been my favorite?

This actually, made me think a little deeper about it. Winter was my least favorite season, so spring always makes me feel relieved because winter is over. I always did love spring—especially when I was a kid because I have a spring birthday…and we had Daylight Saving Time, which meant more time to play outside in the evenings.

It started me thinking about my characters’ favorites.

I didn't used to do major profiles of my characters before writing because I felt I knew my characters right off the bat. They were frequently amalgams of people I knew and were easy for me to write.

But now, I’ve written so many characters that I’m finding character surveys more helpful.

What are my characters’ favorite TV shows? Why? Or do they even watch TV? Are they readers, instead?

I don’t spend a ton of time doing character profiles, but I spend a lot more time than I used to. I rarely use the information that I come up with in my books, but it does help me to create a more rounded character that pops off the page.

One of the more helpful collections of character development worksheets can be found here: Adventures in Children’s Publishing (and, no worries…these worksheets are for adult characters, too). There are four parts to the worksheet and four posts on it.

Do you know your characters’ favorites?