Get to Know Your Character

There are numerous ways to get to know your character. They can write you a letter. You can contemplate what is in their backpack or even in the back of their closet. Me? I like to noodle over what they are reading. It sounds pretty simple. What types of books does your character read?

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  • The teen looking for true love might read romance.
  • The kindergartner who dreams of a puppy selects books about dogs.
  • The tween who is all about facts loves to read science.

It seems pretty simple doesn’t it. That’s why we need to dig deeper. And one way to do this is to ask yourself these questions.

What does your character read on her phone/kindle?

What would she read only on-screen so that no one could see the cover? Or, if she is a serious student, this might be something light, a book her friends would consider frivolous.

What does your character keep on her bedside table? Or the bookshelf in his room?

The books in perfect condition were most likely gifts. Things your character didn’t choose and will probably never pick up. But the books within easy reach? The ones that aren’t dusty and are more than a little ragged? Those are favorites.

What books are on your character’s coffee table?

If your character is an adult, these books may be the opposite of the e-reader titles. What books does your character want to be seen by other people? A student in a dorm might have these books on the corner of their desk. Or someplace at eye-level when people enter the room.

How might reading choices be misleading?

I added this question because of a friend’s son. At a family dinner, this teen might be in the corner reading Dante’s Inferno or a book of German philosophy. But he isn’t doing it to show of. He’s beyond bright and doesn’t care what others think. What books could lead people to the wrong conclusions about your character?

–SueBE

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