How to Write Children’s Picture Books: Is He a Good Guy or a Bad Guy?  (Part 5)

 

by Yvonne Blackwood

The creative juices are flowing and you are writing as if there is no tomorrow. You are able to do this because you have carefully plotted out your story. Great start. As the story progresses, Ronnie Rabbit gets up to some tricks. You have narrated these tricks and you know how the matter will be resolved in the end. Yet, somehow your rabbit character seems flat. Why is this?

 

Create a Character Bible

Although you are writing a children’s picture book with few words, there is an important step an author should take before committing a story to paper—you should build a character bible for your main character and the secondary ones. In other words, you should list intricate details about the characters. By so doing, you will create interesting, and well-rounded characters.

 

What is the purpose of a character Bible?

Writing down details about your protagonist serve two main purposes. (1) It helps you to know your characters in great details and therefore know what they are capable of. This will allow readers to know them well also. (2) You will not have to rack your brain to remember things about Ronnie Rabbit when you write because you have the information at your fingertips. This is especially helpful if you are writing a series.

While Ronnie Rabbit is the main character of the story and we should know a lot about him, we do need to know some information about the supporting characters in the story too, especially if they reappear. These characters will have different attitudes and points of views from Ronnie Rabbit, therefore recording details about them will help you to avoid writing misinformation. Building a character bibles for both main and secondary characters is a valuable tool.

 

Is the main character a good guy or a bad guy?

Ronnie Rabbit should appeal to readers, but knowing his name is not enough. Readers will want to know additional information such as: How old is he? How big is he? What is his colour? Where does he live? What is his weakness? Is he a chatterbox? Is he introverted?  Does he have a best friend or any friends at all? Does he have a family? What are his habits and idiosyncrasies (does he blink continuously?)

When I was writing Nosey Charlie Comes To Town and he got into trouble, I had him say, “What have I done, what have I done? I only wanted to have some fun!” I found this to be a catchy expression and made it unique to Charlie as his go-to expression which I’ll use throughout the series.

 

 

 

Guest post contributed by Yvonne Blackwood. Yvonne is an author, award-winning short story writer, columnist, world traveler, and retired banker. Her published children’s books include: Nosey Charlie Comes To Town, Nosey Charlie Goes To Court, and Nosey Charlie Chokes On A Wiener! Adult books include Into Africa A Personal Journey, Will That Be Cash or Cuffs? and Into Africa, the Return.

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