Do you want to get to know a fictional character better? Pick one or two people (or creatures) from your favorite book. Now dig in and get a real feel for who they are and why they make certain decisions. What would you do in their situation? Characters can reveal your innermost thoughts and beliefs (and of course, show you a good time).

After a spot-on critique with an agent, and attending an energetic conference (thank you SCBWI Midsouth!), I’m challenged with diving in deeper to get to know my main character (Josh). He has this magical creature best friend who dominates my everyday life, so I decide to carve out some quality time with just Josh and me…no boggarts allowed.

Here is what I have so far for the get to-know-your-character adventure:

Sunday—In the car:
I let Josh scan radio stations. As he does, I wonder if he will sing with no shame on being off-key? Maybe he’ll just nod here and there to the beat of the music. Eventually, I know Josh will stare out the window and ask questions I can’t answer. Thank goodness for Google.

Characters don’t do laundry

Monday—Clothes shopping:
I already know how Josh dresses, but while returning a blender to a department store, I take a few minutes to browse the boys section. His cargo pants hang on rack. I get a vision of the dirty clothes, tossed on the beanbag in his bedroom. When I touch the thick material, I see Josh in the woods, stuffing rocks in the over-sized pockets. Some t-shirts make him snarl (metallic iron-on…no way), while others get a nod of acceptance (big black birds with wide-spread wings–cool).

No mild salsa allowed


Tuesday—Grocery store:
Josh leads the way. He drops hot peppers in the cart. He wants onions on everything; I want garlic. He wants the hot salsa. I want mild. He talks me into the medium. 12-yr-olds can be convincing.


Wednesday—Plan for a walk:
What will he talk about, away from the distractions of TV, music, video games or friends? Will he ramble on about outer space, or will funny stories of what happened at school come up? Maybe he will point out things I wouldn’t normally notice, like how the bark on a tree forms a sort of face, if I look at it just right. I’ll bring a camera to photograph nature from his perspective. He might have problems to discuss or an embarrassing moment to confess. I haven’t heard him…I’ve been too busy plotting his life for the next year, to get a feel for how the possible series would develop. Now that it has come full circle and I see how it ends, I’ll let Josh make me laugh or cry as I see life unfold in his everyday world.

Written on September 18th, 2012 , Uncategorized Tags: ,
Debbie Emory

Making Magic Out of Everyday Moments