I attended our local SCBWI conference this weekend (actually had a chance to participate with my agent, Steven Chudney and agent mate, Kristen Landon on a panel which was a super, uber, amazingly awesome experience but I'm digressing here...)
I really learned some neat things and thought I'd share them with you, my friends.
Priscilla Burris - the talented SCBWI illustration coordinator -- was there and spoke about her craft.
But, something she said rang true to me as an aspiring novelist.
She asked us to remember our favorite picture books and asked, What made that picture book memorable?
Was it pippy longstockings braids?
The cat in the hat's top hat?
The way the Grinch tapped his foot constantly?
Those are all parts of the story, yes, but that is not why we connected to those characters.
No, it was the voice of the story
the ability to relate to the character...for good or bad... the way the characters made us think, laugh, or even want to punch them out.
It is the same with all writing.
Sometimes we feel the need to find a "character tell" that identifies the character. That is all well and good -- but we shouldn't think that is what DEFINES that character.
We shouldn't think people will RELATE to that character because they twirl their hair or snap their gum or tap their fingers. We need to dig deeper and create characters that make people feel things...hope things....understand things.
That is what will make our stories memorable.
Just a tiny order, right? ha!
Tell me: What was your favorite picture book growing up AND why do you think it has stayed with you all these years?