It’s Character-building: Building Great (like Kate) Characters
From grade 1, kids know that every good story has three parts (use zombie voice): beginning, middle, and end. Easier said than done, Zombie.
What they don’t recognize is that a good story can go to waste without some good characters. And, a middling or worse story can be heroically saved by a great cast. It’s hard enough to crank out the three aforementioned parts, who has time to develop a character in class, let alone on a stinkin’ standardized test?.
My best advice to writers of all ages: In order to make a great character, stop thinking of them as a character. Pretend like they’re real. Just last week, I came up with a new exercise when an 8th grader was getting ready to cut a character from her story. She was no longer sure why he was part of it in the first place.
“Your character just found out you’re going to cut him. Now he has to write you the letter that will save his life. Or not.” After she wrote that letter on his behalf (and before she read it out loud) she said, “This is going to sound really weird, but I didn’t write this. Coby (her character) did. It is completely him talking, not me.”