Curious what your book characters look like to your target audience? I have often wondered myself how others might see my characters. Do they picture them the way I visualize them? Have I done a good job describing my characters physical traits, style and personality?
I teach fifth grade and recently began to think, hummm…fifth grade is middle grade, my first novel, Liberty Lane and the One-Girl Rebelution is a middle grade book…sooo, I wonder how these students (who just happen to be my target audience) would see my characters. Maybe I should read them my book!
After I was several chapters into reading Liberty Lane and the One-Girl Rebelution to the class, I had them draw pictures of what they thought the characters might look like based not only upon how I physically described them but also the their personality and how they saw them.
I learned several things doing this…. first, I found my class rocks! They drew fantastic pictures. Secondly, I realized they were seeing some characters exactly like I was seeing them, that was super cool! Lastly, I learned I was not describing several characters well enough. This was not good news, but it gave me the opportunity to go back and really liven up some of my characters before I start sending my manuscript to agents in the next month.
One of my characters I found had tons of personality, but I never really physically described him. I knew what he looked like in my mind but I never shared this with my readers. Another character I had described really well but I never described what she was ever wearing and so her “style” was not discovered and she has a very specific style …it is just inside my own mind, forgetting to find its way to print. 🙂
I love the character sketches my class created, so over the next few weeks, I will be sharing their works of art, highlighting my main characters.
What are some of your favorite book characters?
Britney Michelle Wagner says
What if my character likes to sing in the book? Should I write all of the songs she sings? What if the readers get the wrong picture and think she is evil?