Character creation

As author‘s, we spend our days roaming around imaginary worlds and directing imaginary characters through an imaginary story. Nothing is real, and yet, sometimes you may come across a character so lifelike in personality and behaviour that they almost jump off the page. But what makes a fascinating, believable and relatable character? How do we create one? And will doing a bit of character prep before we start writing, make our job any easier?

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How many words do I need?

When I first started on this journey, it never really occurred to me to wonder how long my book should be. As a school librarian I had a clear understanding of the difference between a lower middle grade (MG) and upper MG book, but still no real concept of chapter length or word count or the ideal length publishers and MG readers may expect.

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It’s time to write!

Is it just me or is finding the time to write a challenge? There are so many things to do, especially when you add three kids into the mix. Like most people, I have responsibilities, but how do I successfully balance those responsibilities with finding time to sit down and write? When needing to get everything else done and needing to write are equally important, how do you prioritise? 

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Travelling back in time

We may be in March, but winter still has Norway in its icy grip. Well wrapped in a woollen shawl and with a warm mug of tea in hand, I find myself yearning for warmer temperatures and longer days. So much so, I figured a throw-back to an article I wrote after a summer trip would be a welcome change today. I was in the midst of worldbuilding and research for my MG book series and took a trip with my son to Stavanger to study the vikings of Norway. We had the best time and honestly, I’d love to be back there right now! Enjoy!

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The Fantasy Series and the Middle-grade Reader

In a previous post, I discussed how fantasy fiction holds a strong draw for the middle-grade (MG) reader. As a school librarian, I always try to find the right book for every student, but sometimes finding the perfect book is easier said than done – especially when dealing with ambivalent readers or those that have read “everything”.

Enthusiastic MG readers – firmly entrenched in Appleyard’s “Hero and Heroine” role – have a tendency to devour books at a ferocious speed. If they find a book they like, they will read everything the author has written and then hunt for a book in the same genre and with similar content. 

Here’s where the fantasy series comes in handy!

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Passing the Gatekeepers

In my previous post, I discussed how a degree in school library science and the writing courses I have taken with the late Dave Farland, have shown me that fantasy fiction – or wonder literature – is a great choice for the middle-grade (MG) reader.

There’s something you need to consider though when writing for the MG reader… 

The Gatekeepers!

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Fantasy fiction and the Middle-grade reader

As a school librarian, part of my degree focused on understanding the stages a reader goes through from small child to adult and what kinds of books and stories appeal to readers in the different stages of reading development. An American language professor, Joseph Albert Appleyard suggests there are five stages or roles a reader will navigate as they grow older. He presented these roles in the book Becoming a Reader: The Experience of Fiction from Childhood to Adulthood in 1990.

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Worldbuilding a fantasy series

Following on from my last post about getting your facts straight in an imaginary world, this post is all about building that world!

So, what is worldbuilding? Well, in short, worldbuilding is the process of designing a fictional world that feels realistic and multidimensional. Every facet of a world, from its geography and landscape to the customs of its people and the structure of their society, needs outlining by the author – and often ahead of any actual writing.

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Get your facts straight in an imaginary world

When you’re writing a story set in an imaginary world, with imaginary characters doing imaginary things – does it matter if they do things the “right” way? If you can imagine your characters travelling to a far off planet in a futuristic starship, does the science need to be accurate or can you wing it and claim creative license? If you want your characters to live in a world with no technology, does it matter how long a journey would take on horse back or how they survive without the luxury of a washing machine and google?

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