As a fiction writer, I know that I must put my main character through a series of life trials. The protagonist must suffer. The reader wants someone to root for, someone with an indomitable spirit.
As I write for children, I need to remind myself that the protagonists in early chapter books must also face difficulties, foes and hardships. And the conflict must escalate into a moment of crisis. Think of your favourite children’s book . I guarantee is it chockfull of challenges.
Mother-Me and Writer-Me had to come to terms with my need to make an eight year old girl miserable, lonely, stressed and exhausted. Those of us who write know how real our characters can feel to us. But the biggest mistake that any writer can make is to make everything easy-peasy for our characters.
Writer-Me understood how the character grows through challenges, whether the challenge be a school bully, a house fire or the death of a beloved pet. But the Mother-Me wants to coddle my heroine, give her good grades and prevent her from stepping into the messy dog poop of life.
I am so very grateful that I was given the opportunity to rework my story. Writer-Me told Mother-Me that my character is strong enough to experience loneliness, fatigue, failures and frustrations. Her growth and perseverance made my happily ever after all the more meaningful.
Yay for rewrites and the editing process. Stay tuned as I cruelly throw curveballs at my next young heroine. Watch as she rises to the occasion and handles each skill-building stressor like the third grade Super Girl that she truly is! Can you hear her? She said, “BRING IT ON!”