Judy O'Malley was an editor with Houghten-Mifflen when I heard her speak (yes, I'm too *lazy to see if she's still there.)
Hmmmm, isn't this what we're all going for? (and I'm not talking about the laziness) Characters that seem to breathe and eat and yell and fight and cry and cause trouble and make bad choices and grow up and become a hero all on their own?
And how do we do this? How do we make them so real?
Study real people!Watch your family and friends and strangers. How do they talk? What are their weird habits? What are their faults? What do you wish you could tell them to change? What do you love about them? What are their secrets? What are their goals and dreams?
Make your characters a puzzle. None of us make sense, not really. I mean, we're all strange and weird. We have odd things about us. We all have dual desires. Like, I want to have a clean house, but I don't want to go near the broom. Or I want to have toned arms but I don't want to spend my free time lifting weights.
What do you think? How do you make your characters seem like they could jump off the page and live?
*Alright, another form of my laziness (aka mother of five) is that I don't respond to your comments like I'd like to. I really and truly LOVE getting comments. I'm always surprised how many people actually read this blog. And I'm so grateful for everyone who takes the time to share what they think or if they liked what I pounded out. But I don't always have time to respond. Sometimes it's because of the almost two year old girl saying, "Momma! Where ah yoo?" or "Mommy, pay wit me?" Or it's the fact that I have to hover over two of my boys so they will finally just get their homework done and stop getting distracted. Or it's that these kids expect to eat in a regular fashion. What? The fact that I fed you yesterday isn't good enough, people? *sigh* Or it's my oldest son who likes to download his day to me after he walks through the doors and since I don't want him to ever feel like I don't want to listen to him, I need to stop what I'm doing....or do something mindless, like fold towels, so I can listen.
So, I'm sorry. I know all the Cool Bloggers say you need to respond to every comment if you want your blog to be successful. But....well....I do my best. And if I have to choose between letting my Molly Monkey grab my hand with her chubby fingers and lead me to her little pink castle, thrusting a plastic prince into my hand and expecting me to make him talk to her plastic princess or responding to every sweet and kind and wonderful comment....well, I guess you know which one I'll choose, right? :)