Nancy's Books

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Series Characters/Call for Submissions

Do you enjoy reading books about a particular character and wonder how the author keeps the character from going stale? Children’s books—picture, chapter, and novels—are filled with characters in series. In a book festival I attended with several authors of series books, I asked them how they confronted the challenge of keeping a character compelling and interesting. Many of the answers were similar so I’ve condensed them here.

Allow the characters to age. We watched Harry Potter grow up in the series. As characters grow, they face new problems relevant to their age and their skills, perceptions, interests, and relationships change as they face new situations. This rule does not always apply. In some popular series, such as Nancy Drew, little aging takes place.

Make the characters part of your fictional family. Some authors based characters on someone close, a husband or child, and write with a deep caring for the character. The emotional bond between a writer and the character can be strong.

Place the characters in school or in a certain location in which they have access to new situations to test their spirit and determination and to provide them with the opportunity to face challenges and grow.

Build in conflict and challenges that force the characters to prove him/herself by facing self-doubt and overcoming fears.

Avoid formulaic devices and surprise the reader with the unexpected occasionally. Maybe the shy character is outspoken when provoked.

Let me know if you have other ideas about how to keep serial character fresh and interesting.

Snag Today Poetry Contest. Any type of poetry-maximum of 50 lines-is eligible.

Submission Period: Entries accepted April 1, 2011-July 31, 2011. Early submission is encouraged.

What to Submit: Any work of poetry up to a maximum of 50 lines. There are no restrictions on style or theme. Each entry should be your own original work. You may submit the same work simultaneously to this contest and to others, and you may submit works that have been published or won prizes elsewhere, as long as you own the online publication rights. Please title your email "Snag Today Poetry Contest".

Details at

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