Author of Middle Grade novels about friendship, family, and figuring out where you fit in.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Why Did You Love That Book?

I've been thinking a lot about the books that children choose to read. I work with kids, and it's always interesting to see which books they take out of the library, buy at the book fair, or borrow from their teacher.

Everyone has different tastes. I've seen kids reading fantasy, adventure stories, contemporary stories, graphic novels, joke books, and various other non-fiction books. (The girls seem to prefer how-to books on crafts, while the boys seem to gravitate toward non-fiction about things like sharks and spiders, from what I've noticed.)

No single book is going to attract everyone, and no reader is going to love every book.

With that in mind, I've thought about which books really grabbed me as a kid. I can't narrow it down to just one book, but there were three series that I absolutely loved:

1) The Babysitter's Club

2) Sweet Valley Twins

3) Abby Jones, Junior Detective Mysteries

I enjoyed the first two because they were familiar. They were longer series that featured the same characters over and over, so I felt like I knew the babysitters and the Wakefield twins in real life.

But the third series was short, only three books. I read them over and over. I really connected with the main character, Abby, and I basically wanted to be her. (I went through a very short phase where I considered being a detective when I grew up, all because of those books.)

I'd love to hear what your favorite books were as a kid, and why you loved them so much. Did the characters feel like old friends? Was the setting or situation something you would have liked to experience yourself?
Read More

Monday, March 10, 2014

You Share A Name With My Character!

I've recently made a new acquaintance who shares a name with one of my characters. One of my favorite characters, in fact. It's not an insanely uncommon name, but it's not one you hear everywhere. So, when this person introduced himself, I might have been grinning like an idiot. Which might have been creepy.

If you're a writer, you probably understand this. Our characters feel real. We think of them just as often as we think about actual people in our lives. It's part of the job.

If you're not a writer, this might sound weird. It might sound like no big deal, like someone sharing a name with an imaginary friend you had as a kid. Or a stuffed animal, or a doll, or whatever. But a character (especially a major character) is more than that. Think of them as the toy you loved. Maybe that one doll you had to bring to the table for every meal, or that stuffed animal that you dragged around by its ears since you were a toddler.

That special one.

That's what characters are like to some writers.

We don't always have physical representations of our characters, (unless our books have been made into movies, and there's merchandise to go along with it, but that's not majority of writers), so it's hard to express how significant these fictional beings are to us. We don't have a string of wallet photos like people do for children or grandchildren. (Is that still a thing these days, with smartphones and all?) We don't have many ways to show it.

So believe us when we say, it is usually totally awesome when we find out that you share a name with one of our characters. It might make us smile like we're morons. Just go along with it, okay? We appreciate it when you understand.

Any writers or non-writers have any related experiences to share?
Read More

© Shelley Sly, AllRightsReserved.

Designed by ScreenWritersArena