By Angela Sunde
Imagine getting caught up in a fairy tale situation but when the fairy tale is not working out the way it should. This is what happens to Lily. She starts turned green and bit by bit is turning into a frog. How is Lily going to cope, especially when like many girls of that age group she is self conscious and wants nothing more than to remain inconspicuous so she doesn’t get teased even more than normal by Rick Bastek.What can she do change stop the process of becoming a frog?
To make matters worse her mother, who loves everything French, has invited a foreign exchange student to their home and Lilly has been kicked out of her room for the French Boy Rainier. And then there’s Mrs Swan, who seems like everybody’s idea of a sweet grandmotherly type. But Mrs Swan is not at all what she seems.
Told with humour and a great understanding of the language and interests of the age group, readers will be right on side with Lily and get so annoyed with the mother who initially at least appears so impervious to her daughter’s needs that you’ll want to bop her. All these are good ingredients of a story that jut itches to be read.
Another interesting read from Aussie Chomps.
Today I’m pleased to welcome Angela Sunde, who is stopping off her on her Pond Magic blog tour. Angela is going to talk about developing a character.Welome Angela
Thank you for inviting me to your blog, Dale. I’m very happy to be here.
1. What came first the visual image of the character, the name Lily Padd or the characteristics of your character?
The character in my head started off with no name. I just decided she was a girl about 12 years old. I then gave her a problem to contend with and the problem launched the plot. Once the plot began to evolve, naming her Lily Padd was the obvious choice and her characteristics developed from there.
2. Was there a reason why you decided to make it a French Exchange student? Have you ever been involved with one?
The reason Rainier is French and not another nationality is because of a plotting mind map I created from the central idea ‘Frog’. As my brain came up with all things associated with frogs it lead to – frog’s legs – French. And so I instinctively embedded a French theme within the story. Lily’s mum, for example, is over-the-top into all things French and this drives Lily crazy. So when a French exchange student kicks Lily out of her bedroom, it is the final straw. I loved making things worse for Lily before they got better. I was an exchange student to Germany when I was sixteen, so I have lots of funny anecdotes from that experience and I understand just how Rainier is feeling most of the time. We have also been a host family to exchange students from my children’s high school in the last few years.
3. Do you normally start with an image of a character or a photograph or something to work from?
The characters in Pond Magic evolved in my imagination without any pictures. I am a very visual person and as I got to know them I could see them clearly and even hear their tone of voice. Recently I have used character pictures for a novel I am working on, but I already had an idea of each character before I searched for their picture. So it’s hard to say which came first. I do look at them often when writing though. I think using pictures is very helpful, especially when creating the setting. I also use sounds and music together with a picture to capture a mood and stimulate my senses when writing.
4. How do you decide what traits to give your character?
I let the character’s actions and responses lead me to a character trait. Sometimes this is easy, but mostly I have to sit and think about the character. The character traits can be shown through their body language and habits; for example Maureen rubs her nose when she is lying and Rainier makes mistakes when speaking English – he is also a true gentleman. I think the traits need to suit the character and illustrate a little more of their personality to the reader. If I’m stumped for original traits I use my powers of observation. Now when I sit in the doctor’s waiting room, I watch the people instead of reading a magazine.
5. What was the easiest part in developing the character of Lily?
Lily does a lot of naughty things that I would never have dared do when I was twelve; like wagging school, lying to her mother and breaking into her neighbour’s shed. So it was great fun to create a feisty, independent character without taking any of the risks myself. Hopefully this will also appeal to the readers.
6. What was the hardest part in developing her character?
Lily’s character arrived with full force on the keyboard as I typed. Sometimes I had trouble keeping up with what she wanted to say. The difficult part was creating a single-minded, intolerant and self-obsessed character, with whom the readers would also empathise.
7. Many writers ask questions of their character or interview them to find out more about them. Do you do this or does character just develop as the story goes along?
I had conversations with Lily in my imagination. Her responses were similar to my own and just recently she has taken over the Pond Magic Facebook page, answering comments people leave on the wall. She has enjoyed connecting with her fans in this way.
When developing my characters, I create a profile card with basic statistics, quirks and character traits, virtues, flaws, loves, hates and most important of all ‘wants’. Once I know the character’s motives this will direct their actions and reactions to events in the story.
8 Did your character ever do or say anything that surprised you?
Yes. I was always surprised at Rainier’s innocent remarks and they are some of my favourite lines. I still laugh when I read them. I can’t blame Lily for anything she said or did; she was fighting for her normal life. I might’ve done the same under those circumstances.
A pleasure! It was wonderful to be here. Thank you for having me.
You can follow the rst of the Pond Magic blog tour at these places.
21st October - Stories Are Light - Sandy Fussell – Review
22nd October – Write and Read with Dale – Dale Harcombe
Review and Developing a Character
23rd October – Sally Murphy’s Writing for Children Blog
Getting Published for the First Time
24th October – Cat Up Over - Catriona Hoy
What Girls Read
26th October – Tuesday Writing Tips – Dee White
Writing to this Length
27th October – Kids’ Book Capers – Boomerang Books
Review and Where Story Ideas Come From
28th October – Kids Book Review
The Aussie Chomp Format
29th October – Tales I Tell - Mabel Kaplan
Promoting your First Book & Planning a Book Launch
30th October – SherylGwyther4Kids
Once upon a time in a far away place…