Writing Children- Innocence and Intelligence

Oh yes. As all the old people you see every year at Thanksgiving say, “Children are the future. Which means you and Dan better get started, Nancy!” Children are innocent flowers before they reached the puberty monster. Well most of them.

Children have as much variety as adults and teenagers. So why don’t writers write them like that? Kids aren’t Shirley Temple. They’re Calvin, they’re Philip Hamilton, they’re Lilo, they’re baby Moana, they’re the first years of Hogwarts, they’re Boo! Children are innocent, yes. But they aren’t dumb. They can figure out why their parents are crying.

So what’s the key to writing kids? Well first off, don’t put them into the kid stereotype. Shirley Temple pioneered the art of dumb kids with no personality except cute, dumb, and happy. Whoever wrote Shirley Temple sure hasn’t been inside a room of preschoolers.

When I was helping out in the children’s group of my church, tying the shoes of a 4-year-old boy, he had a lot to say about a lot of stuff. He told me Noah (from the ark story) put the sun into an oven each day to warm it up. He told me that space ends in the morning and begins at night. That’s not right, though. He must be dumb. Wrong, wrong, wrong!

The boy was four years old. He had no way to know or understand how space is infinite, or how the sun covers the stars because of how bright it is. The only gas he knows is the one that comes out of him! He took what he knew and thought them as fact. Long ago, cavemen might have thought the same thing about the black stuff in the sky. They thought the sun was a ball of fire, not gas.

What makes him unique is the fact that he came up with his own ideas. He can understand the world enough to theorize what is happening around him. He knows the sun is warm. He knows ovens are warm. He’s been in church so many times, Noah’s story is nailed into his head. So he made the idea that Noah warms the sun in an oven. Perfectly understandable, don’t you think?

Okay, so a four-year-old thinks a man that had been dead for centuries heats the sun in a technology that didn’t exist when he was around. That’s only the tip of children characters. In order to show you the other parts of children, I have to show my favorite child character at all- Lilo.

 

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Lilo

 

Lilo is the young Hawaiian girl living with her sister Nani, who meets the odd alien Stitch and becomes his best friend. This girl, how do I even describe her? She’s funny. She gets angry and doesn’t handle it right (like most kids). She fights with and loves her sister. She has her own crazy theories on the world. She’s smart enough to defeat aliens! Lilo is the type of child character writers should strive to write.

Let’s go over everything piece by piece. Lilo is funny. She is funny not only because it is her personality, but because she is a child. Anything a child does can be hilarious. Their developing attitudes and actions often make us laugh. Even if your child is very serious, they can still be funny with their little emo attitudes.

Lilo gets angry and doesn’t know how to handle it. She lashes out and screams and cries because she doesn’t have the emotional experience adults or teenagers have. She can’t handle her emotions as well, which causes outbursts. Again, your child may be better with their emotions. They are still most likely not as experienced as older people.

Lilo fights with and loves her sister. Children have deep, trusting relationships with their family and friends. They fight with them and care for them, just like adults.

Lilo has her own crazy theories on the world. With a child’s developing mind, they are still learning how the world works. So give your child their own creative, personal theories.

Lilo is smart. Children are incredibly smart! They may not be able to solve complex mathematical equations, but they are still intelligent! Remember what you talked about as a kid? You talked about all these weird things, like global warming, and why penguins don’t live in the north pole, and all these other little debates with your friends over what you know. So remember. Children are little people, with their own personalities and thoughts.

Boggarts- Character Fears

Spring break has come to my small town, and that means no social interaction and staying locked up in my home, anxiety free. That also means…

HARRY POTTER MARATHON!

I’ve gotten to Prisoner of Azkaban and watched one it my favorite scenes- the DADA boggart lesson. As a spider skidded around in roller skates, I thought of the nature of the boggart, and how it sees your deepest, darkest fear. This is something you could never guess about another person, but something every author knows about their characters.

Grab a piece of paper. No, don’t use a journal, you’ll never remember which one you put it in. Grab a piece of large blank paper. At the top, write down ‘Character Fears’ To start, write what your fear is. It helps to realize the different ideas you can put down. Here are a few fears from my own characters, and personal notes.

  • Doepaw- Bonepelt, the warrior who killed her mentor, Sparrowfire (I write warrior cat fanfiction, sue me).
  • Ghoi- Everyone he loves dead. (Don’t be afraid for deep meaningful fears)
  • Sim- (SPOILERS, SORRY)
  • Hailpaw- Freezing in the snow
  • Yuv- Falling. (You can also have average fears. Not everything is intense).

    Make your own list of as many characters as you can. It really helps improve characterization skills. Be as scary as a boggart to your characters so you can equip them with your own version of one of the most popular spells in Harry’s world. Riddikulus!

    Convention of Warrior Cats- The Laws, Flaws, and Claus(es) 

    I was scanning around LZRD WZRD, one of my favorite Youtubers, watching his video on Shadowclan, when I saw there was a new video on his channel. This video was about amendments to the warrior code. YES!! I hurried through his video, where he proposed The Convention Of Cats, where warriors fans make changes to the code and help to improve it, while still keeping to the warriors spirit. You can watch the amendment he came up with, but I’m going to discuss different amendment ideas I’ve seen and how the Hunters have written such an intriguing list of laws, along with how you can make sure a great constitution of rules as well.

    My own idea stems from the 14th code of the warrior code- An honorable warrior does not need to kill other cats to win their battles, unless they are outside the warrior code or if it is necessary for self-defense.

    This law has two major flaws. It allows warriors to kill innocent loners and kittypets who stumble into the territory. This is what caused poor Tiny to become Scourge, form Bloodclan, and become a cat who this rule was made for. It didn’t have to happen. Warriors should defend territory, but they should also know when to tell a cat to leave and not attack.

    This did not have to happen

    It also accounts for another horrible act- clan murder. All a cat has to do is kill another cat alone and they can claim it was in self defense. No investigation needed. So the rule I suggested was:

    To preserve the morals of individual clan cats, honorable warriors should not kill to win battles. If a cat kills another, the killer must justify their action to the clan, with an investigation to follow.
    Good, right? Here are a few other examples of amendments the code could take.

    • flakeywhiskers- If a medicine cat has fully apprenticed another cat, they are allowed to have mates
    • Iggy Jaystar- Kits should be allowed to leave camp as long as their mother or father accompanies them in order to prevent wild and dangerous exploration. If one or both parents are dead, a responsible warrior can escort the kit.
    • Cutecatlover11502RBX- If a cat outside the clans wants to join a clan, a panel of senior warriors, including the medicine cat, the deputy, and the leader will make the cat take a series of tests, then decide if they are able to join. Final desicion comes to a clan vote. This is so that the leader cannot let anyone join the clan.
    • dewshi- If a cat outside the clans wants to join, they are given two moons as a try out time to see if they can provide for the clan. If they cannot, they must leave. If they can, they are accepted as a full member of the clan.
    • Flower1815- No cat should be denied the chance to be a warrior, even with injuries and disabilities.

    These are my favorite examples at the moment, and all present an interesting argument!

    Since this blog isn’t totally devoted to fandoms and cats, I have to talk about writing somewhere. So today that would be the laws of fictional worlds. The Hunters created a fascinating set of laws that drive the heart of every warrior cats story. These laws have been broken time and time again, causing unique conflicts related to law and religion. When you write a list of laws, you need to nail down the big basics. These are rules against things such as

    • Murder
    • Theft
    • Vandalism
    • Kidnapping

    And other major crimes. These laws present themselves as territory rules, leadership rules, and the all important 14th code. You can also add in what I call ‘Extensions’, things that are okay in some societies but not in yours!

    • Marital laws. In Warriors, medicine cats cannot have mates or kits. Maybe there’s a group of people in your book who this could apply to!
    • Authority laws. Who is placed in power? What laws keep people in check in their spot? In the warrior code, this includes who gets food first, leadership ascension, and leadership dominace.
    • Outsider laws. How do you deal with those not from the world these rules apply to? Are you friendly or hostile?
    • Military Laws. What laws are in place for the military and veterans? How do countries fight? What can you do on the battle field?

    These are only a few types of laws. Add as many as you want, but make sure to have a reason and history behind them!

    As for the warrior code, it is the most well written set of laws I’ve seen in fiction, filled with good and bad parts to use in the story. If you have any amendments to the warrior code you want to make, comment below or tell LZRD WZRD about them on YouTube. Talk to you soon.

    Rules of Time Travel Writing- A Fresh Start

    Oh, time travel. Thou art cruel and frustrating. I don’t know why time travel annoys me as much as it does. Maybe it’s the complication in every action. Maybe it’s the way writers think that everyone enjoys being confused and having no idea what happened. Time travel is a staple of science fiction, spawning untold monstrosities of time travel stories. The two most common types of time travel can be summarized as –

    • The Paradox – The character changes something, everything goes to crap, a cat blows up, eldritch monsters rain down from the sky, the world collapses.
    • The Timeline – The character changes something, and everything is changed. Save a cat from dying? The apocalypse happens. Save mother from dying? People who never had superpowers get superpowers even though they never met the person (I’m looking at you, Flash).

    So many shows have episodes that are about time travel, even though their story is not about time travel. The writers have never had experience writing time travel, which causes them to fall into one of the two time travel tropes. I’m not saying they shouldn’t do an episode about time travel, but they need to be more prepared for the genre they’re about to dip their pens into.

    Taking Saturday as the day where all I do is go for a walk, stay in the house, and watch Disney movies and YouTube videos while eating Rice Krispie Bars, I watched Alice Through The Looking Glass on Netflix. When Alice in Wonderland came out, I was still living in my home in North Dakota. I don’t know why I didn’t remember it was the Jabberwock and not a dragon (though the two look very similar). So you can be sure I was looking forward to watching the new movie. I think I screamed when I saw Alice as the ship captain. You go, girl! When I learned that Alice would be traveling back in time, I groaned. I thought it would be just like the world of Wonderland to add all these confusing time travel rules, but surprisingly, it didn’t!

    When Alice tried to stop Iracebeth, a.k.a the Red Queen, from hitting her head and enlarging it, the event still happened, even after Alice pushed away the clock that was supposed to hit Iracebeth. She realized what Time said was right, and spurts out an excellent theme; you can’t change the past, but you can learn from it. The event allows her to figure out what happened to the Hightopps, and save the Hatter.

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    You can’t change the past, but you can learn from it

    This shows that there are multiple ways to use time travel- all it takes is a bit of imagination, and maybe a touch of madness. So, here are a few time travel methods, rules, and other aspects of fiction that can help refresh a time travel story

    • Invisibility – The time traveler cannot be seen by anyone in the past. They cannot interact with anyone. They simply see. Good for historians. (The Intangible Time Travel trope).
    • Memories – Time travel is activated through objects, like photos and journals, related to past memories. Only for use of traveling to the past, can cause the ‘bloody nose effect’ with brain damage due to multiple timelines (The Butterfly Effect, 2004).
    • Time Holes- Holes scattered across the world that can pop you to different times. Must be aware of opening and closing periods, and which portals take you where.
    • Dreams- Okay here me out. You fall asleep- and you wake up as a past ancestor/reincarnation. The ancestor you pop into could be controlled by a higher power, like in my example, or from a focus point of the person/time period you want to go to. (Warrior Cats, 2003-Present)

    Those are just a few unique ideas I’ve found that could help make your time travel story unique and interesting. If you want timelines, that’s fine! Just make sure the effects make sense. I mean, if one person who was supposed to die got saved, it’s not like people who never had superpowers are going to get superpowers, right? (glares as Flash again). Instead, make people who know the saved person be affected. Do a chain effect with that, and understand what they and their descendants do that could change the timeline.

    Writing Relationships- When to Ship and When to Friendzone

    Oh, how us fans love our relationships. Calling them ‘ships’ for short, we pair up two lovebirds who are meant for each other and imagine them in every romantic setting, no matter how cheesy it seems. But when should relationships in your writing be platonic or romantic?

    Romance has become the cliche to end all cliches that everyone still loves. Writers pair up two people and everyone goes nuts. This annoys me to no end. Somethings, two people should just be friends. They don’t always have to fall in love. More often than not, writers create a female character that only fills the role of ‘love interest’ for their hot male lead. That’s it. That is the starting point of their character development. Everything is centered around their imminent relationship. It makes me want to break something. Maybe the writer’s hand for thinking that was actually a good idea.

    Don’t get me wrong, romance can be wonderful, but only when it’s written right. You need to decide if the two characters you want to marry are really a good fit for each other. According to the fans of Marvel, the writers made that mistake with Hawkeye and Black Widow by giving Hawkeye a wife.

    Since the ‘Clintasha’ (Clint and Natasha) topic is the trigger button of many a shipper, I should probably address it. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Avengers spend a few nights at the farm of Clint, and his wife and kids. This sent the fandom insane, especially those who shipped the witty Clint and the skilled Natasha. They were meant for each other, but Clint’s already married? Why?

    There are both pros and cons for the writers to make this choice. I’ll start with the cons, since everyone is so mad about it.

    Image result for clint and natasha

    Look at them, how can you NOT ship them?!

    The two were SHIELD agents, fighting against evil with an extremely well-developed relationship. Natasha beat the mind controlled Clint to a groaning pulp, but was still there to talk to him about the experience and work through it. Clint had her back on every mission and was able to match her comments with witty answers. Platonic or romantic, this relationship was real, strong, and wonderful. But then came Laura Barton.

    I don’t like hating on characters that aren’t written to be hated, but this woman has never been brought up in any other part of the story before Ultron. Yes, the relationship between Clint and Natasha is unchanged, but the writers have missed a major opportunity by not letting the two get together. Instead they crammed in an awkward, underdeveloped relationship. It was even the reason they made Clint ‘retire’ in Captain America- Civil War, which honestly everyone knew was temporary. Making Clintasha platonic has hit a serious blow in the fanbase, making more than a few people mad.

    Letting the relationship of Hawkeye and Black Widow grow more romantic gives the audience a relationship they love, that they want to see more of, that they truly want to succeed. Instead they threw in a rush job that if they truly wanted, should have had more time to develop. Let us meet his wife without a bigger threat looming overhead. Tell us why we should care about Clint and Laura.

    There was also another way they could have gone with this idea, discussed in the Tumblr thread below.

    either way, gimme more screen time for Clint and Nat:

    For those who have difficulty reading the text, it shows an alternate scene in which Laura is not Clint’s wife, but his sister. Tumblr user aroskywalker discusses how this would be better than a wife. Clint’s still developed, a sister is still important, parallels to the Maximoffs, and more characterization with only five minutes really changed. Plus, it still gives the Avengers a place to go with the threat of Ultron.

    Now here comes the part that would make the shippers mad. The benefits of another love interest for Clint.

    Clintasha has become platonic in full canon, but that doesn’t mean the writers have backed themselves into a corner. There are many interesting ways they can take a platonic relationship. There are many interesting angles (which could still be explored in the sister idea) of a platonic relationship. All the writers have to do is take advantage of this.

    So this is an example of a ‘sunken ship’ (a ship that can never be real in canon) that did not fair well with the fans. So how do you prevent that mistake, and still make the right call about your characters?

    Take a step back from the two characters and figure out their personalities. How well do they mix together? What makes them like each other? Could it develop into something more? Also, look at their backstories. Characters with similar backstories could have a more likely chance to connect and fall in love due to shared experiences.

    The extent of their relationship in the end depends on what you feel would work with your story. Maybe there’s another character they could fall for, or maybe they could simply be best friends. They could even be enemies, coming out of their past with different, conflicting views. Go with what you feel is right. If you truly want two characters to be together, maybe tweak a few points of their personalities and backstories to help them fall deeper in love. Don’t base your entire character on their relationship, however. Make sure both characters can stand on their feet before one sweeps the other off and carries them away.

    Using Basic Needs in Your Writing

    Eating. Sleeping. Drinking. Bathroom breaks. When you’re writing an action paced fantasy adventure, these are things you don’t stop to consider. But what if I told you that they are absolutely essential to a story?

    Let’s start simple. Every living creature needs energy, to eat and refuel with food and water. I don’t want to see you try and give me a reason why your human characters never eat a thing: they need food to live. Humans can live without food for about three weeks, so you probably want to keep your happy band of fantasy protagonists well fed.

    “But Emmy, they don’t have TIME to eat! They need to get to Lord Ringdemort’s castle before the end of the week!” Well, they can stop to eat. Eating doesn’t have to be a stop in the flow of the story. If you want, you can always mention meal breaks in a short summary sentence as you hop from one scene to another. Maybe as they eat, they get attacked by wolves or something, I don’t know, it’s your story. Even Lord of the Rings had the Hobbits complaining about second breakfast! You can come up with a ton of problems and scenarios as your characters munch on rotten apples.

    Next one up on the list, sleeping. Your precious little heroes need their strength if they want to free the innocent people of Camelot, right? Out of all the living necessities, sleeping is the easiest to write about. It could lead to late night sentry duty confessions with a friend as the others sleep, or a midnight raid, even an enjoyable dream sequence. Just give your characters a break.

    Bathroom breaks have to be the most looked over part of fiction. You don’t want to interrupt the action with a bathroom break. You don’t even need to suggest it. The reader can guess that for themselves. There are a few things you can do with bathrooms, though.

    In the fantasy cat series Warriors, many cats escape from watchful eyes using the excuse of the bathroom (or Dirtplace, as they call it) to go enact more plot points. In the series, the bathroom ruse even enacted the important plot point of poisoning a kitten! You can use the bathroom ruse whenever you need a clever escape for your characters.

    The last one isn’t as much a necessity as it is something most action characters encounter. And what is this horrid object that lives inside every character?

    Fatigue.

    Fatigue is something rarely shown in writing. If you unathletic hero is running from a monster, they’re going to feel like the monster is already eating them. Stitches and pains fill their sides. Their throat and lungs burn like fire. Their legs are so weak, barely able to push them across the ground. So what’s all this stuff about them not being tired? Fatigue adds a sense of reality to your story, because I sure can’t run and jump across a cliff without wanting to die, and your characters shouldn’t either.

    So when you write, remember basic living needs your characters must follow. There’s plenty of wiggle room to add them in. Yet how do you add them in without interuppting the flow of the story?

    That is for another time.

    Magic: Writing The System and Doing it Right

    Merry Christmas, everyone! As the holidays are here, I did not post anything last week so I could spend time with my loved ones. But now I am back in the saddle. Since this is the month of holiday magic, I decided to talk about actual magic.

    Almost every writer has had to deal with magical systems in their writings. From a fantasy world well beyond Earth, to wizards co-existing with humanity, the magic used in fantasy stories are what puts the stories into their genre. Making the system make sense, however, is another story.

    Let’s take one of the most famous fantasy books as an example. Harry Potter. The book contains three different forms of magic:

    • Spells cast by wizards using wands to complete tasks
    • Flora and fauna, naturally infused with magic. Wizards use the plants for potions, and they do not have natural magic abilities like the fauna
    • Natural magics harnessed at times of need, I.e, Lily saving Harry from Voldemort with an ancient spell she didn’t cast

    To the untrained eye, these styles of magic seem well organized. The owner of that eye would be mistaken. Rowling presented her fans with three different forms of magic that contradict each other on numerous occasions. Yes, you can use multiple forns of magic (I’ll get to that later) but they must not contradict the other.

    When you decide to create a magic system, the first thing you need to figure out is who controls the magic. This may seem like a feeble step, but it’s one of the most important aspects of magic systems. Unless you want everything to have magical abilities, you need to specify who can use magic. It could be a certain race of people, or something no one can control.

    After you decide who controls the magic, you need to set the boundaries. Magic should not be a ‘get out of jail free’ card for the most skilled Mage in the land. Know what magic cannot do. Know what it can do, with disastrous consequences. And know what it can do with the simplest of ease. Remember, this is not the limits of your magical character. This is the limit of all magic. In the words of Han Solo, That’s not how the Force works!

    Next, for my most favorite part in the whole wide world-

    How is magic activated.

    I hate this part. I’d rather talk about what magic can do then how it is used. Yet it is critical to how the world operates to know how to use magic. You can’t say it just ‘appeared’. In the words of Wirt from ‘Over the Garden Wall’, No, no, that’s dumb. While you can always try to create some brand new, original way of using magic, you could use these tried and true methods:

    • Dance: Used in the tv shows Avatar, this style is using movements and dance to harness your magic. This style can be used for exotic magical settings, graceful warriors harnessing beauty and passion. Just remember, this style has been associated with the world of Avatar. Make sure to own this style if you decide to use it before Avatar fans come breathing down your neck.
    • Spells: An age old classic, used in Harry Potter, Merlin, Lord of the Rings, and many other tales. Spell casting is the most traditional way of harnessing magic, with the spoken word and a flick of the wand. For a traditional magic wizard story, this may be the style for you. If you choose this, you’ll need go distinguish your magic from other people. Another spell casting book could become lost forever.
    • Internal: I know what I said. You can’t say magic just appears. Yet that is what this style focuses on. This style can be extremely tricky. Not talking about internal magic can make your system seem like a Mary Sue system, where everything is easy. But, if used correctly, internal magic can be a huge payoff. There are a couple different forms of internal magic. One is the magic of flora and fauna. Natural magic imbedded into the DNA of living organisms to give them certain magical skills. These skills are similar to a lion retracting it’s claws. It’s just natural instinct. It’s great for non-human species. The other form is based on mana, the magical energy featured in many fiction works. Your magic controlling people could use their own stores of manna to create effects. This could be used for physical, emotional, and mental injuries due to overuse of mana stores. It could also be a base for other styles, like spells, to hang off of.
    • Potions: This relates to the naturally magical flora and fauna from the last style. If a group were to use these creatures, they could become a group of potion making wizards. You get a cauldron, put the right ingrediants in, and cilia! Magic. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe this form is used in the anime Fullmetal Alchemist. It is closely related to alchemy, expect for its use of organic ingredients.
    • Alchemy: Alchemy is like potion making, expect it used non-organic ingredients, like gold, fire, water, or other elements. This is like potion making, just a different style. No matter which one you do, figure out its usability in daily life.
    • Glyphs: Glyph casting is creating glyphs that have certain magical effects. One glyph might create fire, one might control dogs. It is like spell casting, but with symbols instead of words.
    • Sentient Magic: Inspired by the mighty Force, this is a system where the magic of the world is sentient. Those who use magic are simply liked by magic. If asked, magic will help out. Similar to internal magic. Remember, sometimes, magic may not be willing to help.

    Those are just a few examples of harnessing magic.

    With that figured out, we move onto integration. Magic will have some affect on your society, so you need to figure out what. How does magic effect the world ecologically? Socially? Politically? Mentally? Emotionally? Physically? How that works is up to you.

    If you want fantastic beasts and magic spells in one story, that’s great. There is nothing wrong with that. It can make your world seem that much fuller. When you do, you need to make sure they do not contradict each other. Make them blend together like strawberries and bananas.

    Oh boy, that’s a lot of info to dump out. It’s all needed to create an intricate magic system. Remember, the reader only needs to see the tip of the iceberg to know about it. You don’t need to tell the reader everything. They don’t want you to. Use a touch of your own writing magic to satisfy your audience.

    What writing magic do you use though? That is for another time. Happy holidays to all, and to all a good night.

    Why the Little Things Can Truly Shape Your Character

    Characters are the turkey of a delicious turkey sandwich from Subway, the thing that every story needs in order to truly be a story. You can’t write a story that has no characters. Even when you write a simple poem describing a beautiful scene, the reader or the narrator could be the character of that poem.

    So, when you need to create your characters, you need to do an excellent job. Not just an excellent job. An amazing, fantastic, magical job. However, in many stories all around the world floating in the sewers, the characters are horribly one-dimensional. They behave in a way no one ever would, and are just disgusting to read about. Characters can also have too much which overloads everything and turns a character into a dreaded Mary Sue.

    Of course, I’m not here to talk about Mary Sues. I’m here to talk about developing characters. Let me ask you a few questions about your character. Doesn’t matter who. Pluck anyone from your writings and put them in the spotlight. Now, tell me; what is their middle name? How do they sleep? Do they like making lists and organizing or do they like being spontaneous? Do they prefer silly Christmas tree decorations or classic Christmas tree baubles with strings of lights and popcorn hanging all around? Do they even celebrate Christmas? What is their religion? Are they an Atheist? Do they like Apple phones or Samsung phones? Do they have a certain clothing style? Where do their parents come from? How did their parents meet? Do they like milk chocolate or dark chocolate or no chocolate at all?

    I’m making you a bit uncomfortable with all these questions, aren’t I? To craft a story, these are the things you need to know about your character. Maybe not the exact things I asked you, but those are the types of questions you should try to answer about your character.

    When you add something to your character’s biography, or bio, it bleeds into your writing. Even the fact of how they decorate their Christmas trees could decide if you character is more traditional or more modern. Those facts could be influential in your story. Even though your readers will never learn of this.

    If you were reading a thrilling mystery novel, do you really want to the story to be interrupted so that we can learn how someone decorates a tree? If it’s a Christmas story, you could, but not if it’s in the summer! This applies to any little quirk you put into your characters. While the reader doesn’t necessarily want to know all these facts, when you know them, it only helps to shape your character.

    Those of you new to writing may be wondering if little details to help your character is needed when the reader will never know. Surely you could just fill in the important spots of those character questionnaires and leave out their favorite cereal. Let me put it this way. You’re writing a horror story. Everyone is scared, shaken, disoriented. full panic mood. Is the character you are creating always scared, shaken and disoriented? Do they put themselves into these situations for fun? Of course not. Make your character into an iceberg. While the reader only sees the top layer, there are hidden layers underneath the water that help the character float.

    If you’re having a tough time figuring out little things to add about your characters, put them through a character questionnaire. You can find many of these online. They list multiple different facts about your characters life to help you mold your character into reality, ready to face the villains and challenges you lay ahead.

    However, those challenges are for another time.