Who is your fictional character? Or who is the fictional character that your kid creates? Have you asked?
This is a question I’m asking my kids. Have you asked yours?
Or yourself? Or your spouse? Or your neighbor at a dinner party? Or, I dare you: the person behind you at the checkout line at the grocery store?
Yes, I have added incentive as I continue The Adventures of Li & Lu until they’re 18 (which is still several years off). I want (and need) new characters to round out their stories. But I also want to, ahem, secretly and quietly hear what their ideal character might sound like. Is it them? Is it their dream? Is it their future?
Maybe your kid won’t open up you. One-syllable answers. You might not even know so well what they like who they’d like to become. Ease the pressure. Have them create a fictional character of their own imagination. You just take notes.
If you ask them something like, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” many kids take that as almost an aggressive question that makes them nervous.
But what if we could bring fiction into the mix?
What if we asked them to create a character for “the book we’re working on” or if you’re not working on a book, the book your friend is working on?
HINT: it should be real or at least “real sounding” so they put a little thought into it.
It takes away the pressure of what they think they might want to do or be or become. Even worse: it removes the judgement of what they think that you think that they should be now or be later.
See how that works?
It’s beautifully simple.
Oh, and you get a character for your book. Because you are writing a fiction book, right? I mean, I am. Aren’t you? If not, why not? If not, you can always get started. Here’s a challenge if that wasn’t enough for you: ask your child (kid, teenager, mutant-zombie-human-species living in your house) about this character and try to not write a book … or at least think about writing one.
It’s fun. I swear.