Last Saturday I went to the last SCBWI Masterclass of the year (the only one I had managed to get to this year). It was on how to create characters to care about with Piers Torday of 'Last Wild' trilogy fame. (Confession – sorry to say that I hadn't heard of him before then. But now I know what he has written, want to buy the books).
He told us how he got writing his books. He wrote 'The Last Wild' 17 times. What inspired him.
We then had to write out our homework from our favourite children's book. Then wrote another exercise based on that. This gave me an idea how to start a children's animal series I have in mind. Shall have to write or type that out for a reminder.
I can't remember if Piers said this himself or he told us it was another author, but he said, (and I agree), you can't write if you don't read.
When you write you should get the child to visualise the characters.
Then we had another exercise based on classic children's characters. This gave me yet another idea for another animal series.
You should read widely and deeply. Read 10 books on the topic. Piers read 10 books about wolves for his trilogy. He quoted Jacqueline Wilson with 'Write with one eye on the market'.
Then it was another exercise about child inspiration or what frightened you as a child. I wrote something that might turn into a series of Asper fiction for children. We shall see.
Think about your character – their function, originality, voice and choices.
Another exercise based on your homework, which leads to a bit more homework.
Story – think motivation.
I enjoyed the day despite coughing my way through it, esp at the end when I got a tickle. Aargh. I also enjoyed the sweet potato fries I had, but couldn't eat them all as there were too many.