Anne-Marie Strohman

In our final Crafting Characters post, we dive into character relationships. These authors share the questions they ask, the strategies they employ, and the exercises the use to develop rich character relationships.

What does your character want? Desire drives a story. Yearning creates propulsion. But how to you find/create/discover your character’s desire? These seven authors give us their strategies for engaging with their characters’ desires in ways that make their stories richer and keep readers turning pages.

It’s CRAFTING CHARACTERS post number 5! Today we’ve got something for everyone–working from the outside in, and special tips for getting to know your non-fiction characters. Whether it’s asking “what if”? or interrogating a character’s economic circumstances, whether diving into research or interviewing a real live person, in this post you’ll find wisdom for taking your characters–both fictional and real–to the next level.

It’s our fourth installment of our CRAFTING CHARACTERS series, and today, we check in with writers who work their characters out on the page as they draft. Some of these authors do use some freewriting techniques, but usually after they’ve seen their character in action on the page, or during the revision process. Read on for some excellent insights!

In our third post of Crafting Characters, our authors and contributors share how they connect with their character’s traits–whether through pulling from their own personalities, using tarot cards, or looking for opportunities for opposition. Read on to find out their strategies.

Welcome to our second post in our Crafting Characters series. For some people, working out character before putting pen to paper is the best way forward. Others have characters show up nearly fully formed, or at least with enough substance to have something to say. Those people often make efforts to listen to their characters–whether through freewriting, through scenes, or through meditative daydreaming. These authors and our contributors share their favorite ways to develop their characters. Read on for some mindful strategies for uncovering character and letting the characters speak.

Welcome to our first post of our April 2022 series, Crafting Character. Character is the driving force of the story, but actually letting character drive our stories can be tricky. That’s where KidLit Craft comes in. We’ve asked authors and our contributors to share their favorite ways to develop their characters–by getting to know them, exploring character desire, and focusing on core relationships.

Looking at voice, interiority, internal arc, character relationships, and more, our writers have analyzed mentor texts in all categories to discover strategies for creating characters that leap off the page and into readers’ hearts. This list is one you can return to over and over to find just the post you need in the moment.

Some great stories make use of what Melanie Jacobson calls the emotional antagonist. The emotional antagonist is on the protagonist’s side, but the protagonist doesn’t have their approval or support.Jacobson believes emotional antagonist can be a powerful addition to a book because it gives a story an extra satisfying ending–a resolution with the emotional antagonist. We can see the emotional antagonist in action in Eddie the Eagle (2015).

Margaret Chiu Greanias’s new picture book, Amah Faraway, illustrated by Tracy Subisak, matches the reverso form with the story of a girl and her grandmother who begin worlds apart (one in the US and one in Taiwan) in a way that enriches both the story and the form.