From Sarah, With Joy

*Poet * Author * Wanderluster*

Monday, October 28, 2013

Inspiration for Child Characters

I've had several conversations with my roommate about how difficult it is to write child characters. And it is. However, I think its something many of us come up against in the course of our writing careers. I think when we get down to it, we all know what it feels like to be a kid. It's just that we have several years worth of experience fogging up the accuracy of our memory. Maybe all it takes to get ourselves in the right mindset is the right picture. If a picture is worth a thousand words, maybe one of them will say exactly what we need to hear.

If you're writing a child, now or in the future, maybe one of these pictures can help you strip away all the jaded years and get down to the truly childlike. Maybe one of these pictures will inspire its own story. If nothing else, you'll get a smile.

Anybody writing a child character? Which picture do you think carries the best story? If nothing else, I hope these shots brightened up your Monday as much as they did mine :)

Sarah Allen


  1. I like the girl with the kitten. Although, the kissing pic is a close second. LOL

  2. My latest book had a ten-year-old boy and I'm pleased readers say I nailed the voice.

  3. So cute! I have a 4 yo girl in my first book out in Jan, and several young kids in the second book I'm working on now. Great inspiration pics!

  4. The ones with the kitten and bunny are cute. I've never written from a child's POV before.

  5. I love that picture of the baby and her father sleeping together. Genetics at work there!

    As a teacher, I have a plethora of child models for my characters. Sometimes, a very specific student will come to mind for a character!

  6. Cute! I have a five-year-old, so I could handle that age. Anything older might be tough for me.

  7. I love the photo of the Daddy and the baby, both asleep with "mushed" faces. I have one just like that with my son and husband. :)

  8. I helps if you're a parent. For example, the following from my Pushcart Prize nominated story, "The Wells Creek Route."

    I had to leave this desk for a while to play outside with my two-year-old. It’s cold out, windy, but Sam wanted to go outside. He stood next to me and looked at me with his very blue eyes and said, “Daddy, I want go outside.”
    “Okay, buddy,” I said, “just let me print this out, one minute.”
    “One minute,” he said.
    “Yes, buddy, one minute.”
    Sam opened the file cabinet next to my desk, pulled out a folder full of bank statements, and flung it over his shoulder, the papers scattering, then he reached for another folder. I finished writing the paragraph about the sons of a war hero, then jumped up from my desk and rescued the title to our home from my son’s grasp.
    “Daddy, I want go outside.”
    “Ask nicely,” I said, shutting the cabinet drawer.
    “Please,” he said.
    “Okay, buddy, let’s get our coats.”
    “Get our coats!” he said and ran. I grabbed the coats and ran after him as he pounded on the sliding-glass door leading from my basement office into our small backyard, surrounded by woods. After wrestling him into his coat, we went out and played ball with no rules, except that we both knew we had to chase each other and fall and roll in the grass.
    Suddenly, Sam stood and stared into the forest.
    “You want to go exploring?” I asked.
    We ran toward the thick underbrush. I went ahead of him, pushing aside potentially disastrous sticker bushes, and we marched into the woods, out of the chilling wind, and found a small clearing where we sat and felt the silence of winter.
    For a two-year-old, it was a long time in that sun, warm on our faces, enjoying the woods, but for a forty-year-old dad, it was just a moment.

  9. I might have been able to write a child character when I had one around the house to copy from. Unfortunately, those days are passed.

  10. I don't think I could write a child character, as it would sound too much like an adult.

    Kind of like an old WB Bugs Bunny cartoon.


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