As a writer, children’s writer, it’s my job to create interesting characters. I’m certain most writers have a favorite character that they’ve created at some point during their writing journey. My favorite character isn’t one of my main characters, but she definitely made an impression on me, and hopefully she touched my young readers. Her name is Margaret Rose, a ghost child, from The Ghost of Whispering Willow.
I have written many pieces over the years; some are good, some are awful, some are mediocre, some pieces I actually like. Margaret Rose happens to live in a story I like. I purposely chose the word live, because as a writer, if we do our job correctly, our words actually come to life. We should take a child to another place – me, I want to write beautiful stories, even if they’re ghost stories. This ghost child took on a life of her own. Her actual role in the story is quite small, but her presence and impact is massive. Her child-like innocence, the trait about her character that I personally love the most, draws you to her. She’s clearly gone, is aware of that fact, and yet acts as any normal living child her age. Giddy, playful, speaking out of turn, and desperately wanting to please those around her. It’s a beautiful thing, the innocence of a child, and that quality shines through this character.
Each writer has a process for creating strong characters. I personally tear mine down to see what’s left (can’t speak for other writers) this is how I do it. It helps determine who my character is supposed to be, not necessarily who I want them to be. Characters have to adapt because story lines change directions. Main characters can become auxiliary characters, especially if the secondary character suddenly becomes the stronger of the two. This actually happened during The Ghost of Whispering Willow.
Asking a million questions, I’m not kidding, it seems like a million, really helps with the character ‘tearing-down’ process. “Why wouldn’t they do this? Why would they do that? Where would they go? Why wouldn’t they go? She wouldn’t think like that, why? Why would he/she choose that, why not? Each answer leads to another question and once I’ve exhausted both, questions and answers, typically what’s left creates a solid character. Margaret Rose, definitely my favorite so far. If you’re a writer, whose your favorite character?
Amanda M. Thrasher