Saturday, 22 October 2011

World of Ink - Guest Post with Maha Huneidi

Developing Characters
by Maha Huneidi 

I think I found out how I developed my character in retrospect, and now that I can see it I think I reverse engineered her. When I first started writing my book, “When Monsters Get Lonely,” the last thing on my mind was character development. I just wanted to tell the story of a little girl who overcame her fear of the dark and of monsters. So my character’s greatest fear was already there. She also had a dream of becoming a movie director, so she started out as a concrete character with a dream and a fear from the very start.

I think that developing a character for a picture book is much easier than developing one for a novel. You have a limited number of words to work with, so you can’t go into detail and you have the illustrations to fill in the description of the character. I did have quite a bit of detail about the character which I had to delete because of word count, but the character immerged nevertheless.

I was afraid of the dark and of monsters as a child so the character was partly me, but when the book became about my granddaughter, the character became partly her. She was almost three at the time, so really the character was what I imagined her to be.

I think my character just developed with my understanding of how to write picture books. When I found out that the main character must resolve the problem herself, my character became strong and intelligent, because she had to understand what Grams meant when she said that we invent our lives, and she had to use her understanding to resolve her problem.

Hannah was strong enough to go back to her room, but not overly so. She asked her mom to leave the lights on, so she came through as both strong and vulnerable.

In the end to sum it all up, I think my character was real because she was

-Borrowed from real life, but I don’t think that a character should be exactly like one particular person. But then that’s the fun of writing fiction, you can make up a whole new personality.

-She had an ambition and a fear.

-She had strong traits that the reader can identify with, she was intelligent, brave, and vulnerable.

-She grew and got over her fear by resolving her own problem.

About the Author:

Maha Huneidi is a wife, mother and now grandmother, who finally found out what she wants to be when she grows up. This book is the first step of her journey. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

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