I am going to LOVE my Craft of Writing for Children class. The teacher is so lovable, which may in part be due to the fact that she has mannerisms that remind me of my grandmother who recently passed away. (Her middle name is even Ruth, which was my grandmother’s name.)
Today we had a fantastic discussion about the book When You Reach Me (see previous post). Then we did a writing exercise. I’d done this particular exercise before. It’s where you essentially create a biography of your character. You answer everything from the age and gender to their favorite color and music. She told us to think of a character, and then for half an hour she asked us questions like, “What kind of childhood did they have?” or “How do they react to conflict?” I filled 4 handwritten pages with information on one character.
This is a fantastic exercise when you are just beginning a writing project, and I hadn’t done it in awhile because I have several projects that I’ve been working on for awhile. I did the exercise on an entirely new character for an entirely new project that had been brewing in the back of my mind. I really don’t think there is a better feeling for a writer than that first time you work on a new project. It’s like electricity charges your brain and you can’t write or type fast enough.
I have a student whose name I love, and I’d told her I might use her name someday in a story. Her name got me going. Then the story idea is going to be a science fiction/dystopian/survival story. I’ve been reading a lot of that type of stuff lately, and love the action and sense of urgency those plots create.
If you want to read some great sci-fi/dystopian/survival stories, here are a few:
-Life As We Knew It, The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
-Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
-Atherton series by Patrick Carman
-Unwind by Neal Schusterman