Getting into costume is a great way to get into character. Writers need to get into their character’s head every time they write a story. But they also need to get into their reader’s head and figure out how their reader will connect with their main character. It’s not easy to hold all of that in your mind at once. That’s why bringing your story to a critique group is great idea. You can get feedback on what behaviors, dialogue, and choices your character needs to make them relatable to young readers.
Here’s some feedback I received recently on characters in my picture books.
- “This story touches on a universal subject. Although the theme is universal, it is hard to get a sense of who the main character is.”
It’s great to write a story that relates to lots of people, but remember a story is about what happens to this particular character. Is your main character specific enough?
- “Picture books usually feature a child protagonist. In this story, your MC feels like an adult. Is there a way you can make him more child-like?”
We are adult writers writing for young readers. Think about ways a child sees the world. Can you connect to a specific memory from your childhood as a starting point?
- “Why would kids want to read about this? Why should they care?”
This feedback was on my hook overall, or my pitch to editors. When we write for children, we can’t just write about something cute or funny. We have to write about something that really matters to kids, which means we have to listen to kids. What do kids care about? If it’s been awhile since you’ve listened, now is a great time!
You may know I provide editorial and critique services both independently and on Reedsy. If you’re writing a story or book and would like proofreading, copyediting, critique, or feedback please get in touch!