1. TeeBee2011
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    TeeBee2011 Member

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    Characters in a children's book

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by TeeBee2011, Dec 6, 2011.

    Hi,

    Mr Newbie here...

    I’m writing a story for children around the ages of 11-13 and am after some advice.

    When a character has a particular quick, should I over-emphasis it and mention it regularly throughout the story?. For example, if a 30 year old male character enjoys eating toffee sweets, should I mention that fact constantly during the story so that the reader relates to which character I’m writing about (John reached for another toffee as he drove the car into the petrol station etc.) . Or will the reader get bored if I keep mentioning John’s toffee eating, and should stop it once I think the character is defined?


    Thanks

    Tony
     
  2. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    I think you could get away with going into his habits in detail at some point in time in the beginning of the story, and then casually mentioning it when it's relevant to the story after. I wouldn't write a paragraph on his toffee eating after they have already read about it before, but you could write a line that mentions it every now and then. I think sometimes it's important that if a character has specific habits they need to be brought up. So as long as you don't bring an extraordinary amount of attention to it I think you'll be fine.
     
  3. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    Totally agree. Mention it some but if you mention it too much then you'd have to use it to move the plot forwards, like he became a suspect to the crime because they found toffee crumbs. Okay dumb example but it'd end up seeming like a gun introduced in act one that didn't get fired.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    never annoy the readers with 'over-emphasis' of anything!

    take the good advice offered above...
     
  5. Anna Gergen
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    Anna Gergen New Member

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    I like this idea a lot. Start out with him eating toffee quite often, but then only mention it when it punctuates the scene, so to speak. For example, maybe something awful just occurred, and when he reaches for his toffee, it doesn't taste quite as sweet as he remembers it. Or when his world is turned upside down, the toffee is the only thing that grounds him to reality. Just my humble opinion.
     
  6. Anna Gergen
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    Anna Gergen New Member

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    double post please delete
     
  7. Purplesuits
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    Purplesuits New Member

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    If you've ever watched zombie land the constant thought of twinkies for the character Tallahassee is a whimsical character twitch for him. Being a crazed zombie killer it's a nice take back. No matter what changes with him, he'll still always have that love for Twinkees. It's always a nice grounding as mentioned before. Now you shouldn't mention it often, but maybe you could turn it into a Pavlovs dog scenario. If every time something big was about to go down the toffees were re-introduced the young and malleable minds might very well associate toffies with something very important in the plot. I don't know, just a thought.
     
  8. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If I were writing it, I'd mention the toffee twice. Once early on, and the second a bit later to emphasize that this character loves toffee. After that, I wouldn't bother unless the toffee becomes a plot point. In such a situation, you've already set up that the character loves toffee and it's important to him. You can then make toffee important. But if toffee isn't really important to the story, if you're only including it to help define the character, then I think two mentions are enough.

    I read Ernest Hemingway's For Whom The Bell Tolls when I was a teenager, and one thing that stuck with me was that the hero, Robert Jordan, had a flask of absinthe in his pocket and he would pour himself some when he felt he needed it. I reread the book earlier this year, and found out that the absinthe was really only in one scene. The way I'd remembered it, Jordan was drinking absinthe practically every evening, but Hemingway only really wrote about it once. My point here is that even one mention of a characteristic can impress the reader. There's no need to go on and on about it.
     

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