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How do your characters view the world?

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We have another Halloween in the books. And, frankly, I am relieved.

When it comes to character development, consider how they see the world. (Flickr: nimishgogri)

When it comes to character development, consider how they see the world. (Flickr: nimishgogri)

I am not quite the creative type when it comes to costumes. And watching my kids lug home a pillow case bulging with candy sets my teeth on edge.

Here’s something that got me thinking, though. Last night, my youngest son remarked to me how crazy it was that the NFL would even consider playing a game on such an important holiday as Halloween.

“Probably no one will even go to the game,” he said, shrugging his shoulders.

I smiled at my little man’s view of the world from his young eyes. How could anyone in his right mind even think about football when trick-or-treat was upon us?

For my youngest son, it’s perfectly reasonable that he would scoff at forgoing Halloween for a football game. For my oldest son, the exact opposite would be true.

Perspective is such an important aspect of writing. If we’re not careful, too many of our own beliefs, thoughts and opinions can seep into a character.

Why would this be a problem?

Well, if you are a middle age woman writing from the point of view of a young punk kid with a chip on his shoulder, every effort must be made to see, experience, smell, taste and touch the world as a young punk kid with a chip on his shoulder.

Readers are fickle, very discerning creatures and they will be able to sense the “disconnect” if something about your narrative just doesn’t fit.

Guard against this by taking time to fully develop your characters with their own set of values and viewpoints. What do they like to eat? How do they respond when they see a homeless person in the street? Which is more important to your character – a massage or a magnificent meal?

For the most authentic, true-to-life characters, infuse them with their own identities – separate and apart from your own.

Along these same lines, young adult fantasy and children’s picture book writer Ellen Davidson shared with Educated Writer her thoughts on creating intimacy in your writing through point of view. Be sure to check it out.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Feel free to share in the comments section below.

Kerri S. Mabee is editor at EducatedWriter.com. Learn more about her at kerrismabee.com.

 

Kerri S. Mabee

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