The Countdown Continues…


Number of days left until the first faculty post for #KidlitSummerSchool!


We hope you’re ready to get into character! (Double entendre alert.) We know we are!

We did think, however, that before tomorrow’s post (and all the others that will follow) it would be a good idea to take a moment and think about what character truly is. If you look up the word character, here’s how some dictionaries define it:

  1. the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.
    • the distinctive nature of something.
    • the quality of being individual, typically in an interesting or unusual way.
    • strength and originality in a person’s nature.
    • a person’s good reputation.
  2. a person in a novel, play, or movie.
    • a part played by an actor.
    • a person seen in terms of a particular aspect of character.
    • informal: an interesting or amusing individual.

As we go through Summer School, learning about creating characters and adding depth to characters and so much more, we’d like you to keep these bullet points in mind. Create individuals that are distinct, interesting, and unusual. Think about your character’s reputation and his strengths. Make him amusing with a lot of originality, so that he is the best candidate to play the part you’ve created for him in your manuscript.

Meet Our Characters

If you guys have looked around this site, you’ve probably already read our bios on the Faculty page. Instead of repeating ourselves, we thought we’d kick off the week with a note about some favorite characters from our own books.

For Kami, that character is Priyanka Gupta, from The Boy Problem (Notes and Predictions of Tabitha Reddy)

Kami Kinard

Scholastic 2014

Kami: Pri is not the main character in this book. I created her because my main character, Tabbi, needed a new friend with a lot of personality to make The Boy Problem significantly different from my first book, The Boy Project. So Pri has some distinctive character traits. She loves cupcakes. She loves t-shirts with cupcake slogans. (I got the idea for these traits from my cupcake-loving middle schooler.) She is super-enthusiastic, which makes her at times both annoying and endearing. She is also a little clumsy, a hard worker, and loyal. (Every middle schooler needs some loyal friends.) All of her character traits were important to the story. My favorite thing about Pri though, is by the end of The Boy Project, I really liked her, and knew she’d be a fantastic friend for Tabbi.

Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

Disney-Hyperion 2014

For Sudipta, that character is Moose, from Duck, Duck, Moose!

Sudipta: Moose is one of those folks who means well, but can’t help but create chaos in the form of something I call Moose Moments. What is a Moose Moment? It’s basically a moment of disaster. like dropping your ice cream cone on the sofa, or knocking over the milk jug, or not noticing that you’d stepping in blue paint until after you’ve tracked blue footprints all over the house. What I love about my character Moose is that he is so real (or, at least as real as a talking Moose who lives in a house with two ducks can be!). We’ve all witnessed his type of Moose Moments. We’ve also all experienced his type of Moose Moments — probably many more than one. To me, Moose is a universally understandable character, someone I feel every reader can connect with. That’s what I love most about him.

And Now, Last Words (before tomorrow!)…

The authors on our fabulous faculty have prepared all kinds of great posts on a wide variety of topics like How to Enrich Your Main Character with Magic or Talents,  and Crafting a Unique Voice, also Yadda, yadda,bird-writing-with-pencil yadda…Funny Characters, and Taking Your Character Interview to the Next Level. Every contributing author will offer a different perspective on how to accomplish excellent characterization. Sometimes the posts might even contain conflicting advice! Don’t worry! You should take from each post the parts that will help you on your writing journey. No two people approach the writing process in the same way!  So sharpen those pencils and get ready for tomorrow’s post from National Book Award winner, Kathryn Erskine.

51 comments on “The Countdown Continues…

  1. katmaz2012 says:

    I am excited to explore my characters. I am afraid I have more than one brewing. I think I will keep multiple note pages open for adding and deleting ideas. Thanks


    • The Nerdy Chicks says:

      We can tell you’re a great student. Yes, keep mulitple pages open. And why delete ideas? Keep them there… you don’t have to use them all!


  2. Kathy Phillips says:

    I only had time to briefly visit the fb page…Guess I better get to class soon! 🙂


  3. Nancy Armo says:

    Pencil sharpened and ready to roll!


  4. shelley says:

    So exciting! I took an online writing course with MS. Erskine and it was great! Can’t wait till tomorrow.


  5. Carrie Brown says:

    Sounds like Pri and Moose would make a dangerous pair. Cupcakes, clumsiness…watch out! It’s going to be great delving into characters!


  6. jodimckay says:

    This is going to be so motivating! Can’t wait to begin!!


  7. Anita Banks says:

    Counting down!!


  8. Pia Garneau says:

    Just got back from a quick vacation. Better get ready for school.


  9. Debbie says:

    I. Am. Ready.


  10. sharpening pencils. looking for big pink eraser. where did I hide the m&ms?


  11. bevbaird says:

    Great start to the weeks ahead. Love the characters you shared. Can’t wait to get started!


  12. Tick-Tock!.
    My alarm is set.
    Thank you, ladies. 🙂


  13. Kim Mounsey says:

    My characters definitely need some work. I know them and love them but not sure that their ‘character’ comes across on the page. Can’t wait for tomorrow!!


  14. debjohnson says:

    Right now my character is a bit of a “flat stanley” type…literally. It will be fun to see how my discombobulated ideas about him give him a real personality! I’m ready!


  15. Can’t wait! I always loved school but I’m especially excited about Kidlit Summer School!


  16. Bounce bounce bounce 🙂


  17. Vijaya says:

    I’m trying not to have moose moments … happy Sunday all.


  18. McM says:

    Pencils – check!
    Paper – check
    Characters, peeking out of pages – check
    Now I just gotta find the COFFEE!


  19. Leaping with excitement! Let’s GO!


  20. Poppy Wrote says:

    I can’t wait!


  21. tinamcho says:

    I enjoyed reading about Moose and Pri! Thanks for the great examples.


  22. All set! You bet! ~Suzy Leopold


  23. Melanie Ellsworth says:

    Thanks for sharing your favorite characters, Kami and Sudipta – a great way to start us off!


  24. I’m receiving emails and follow the blog but not sure how to confirm I’m registered for school. I have my pencil pouch packed and first day clothes laid out — could you confirm that I am registered. I promise to try not to be one of those pain in the butt students, though I’m not starting off so great. :> (A nerdy chick smile)


  25. Looking forward to it!!! 🙂


  26. Can’t wait!! 🙂


  27. Aww, I first met Moose in a ~24 word manuscript at an NESCBWI session a few years back. I love that he is now Sudipta’s favorite character!


  28. Cecilia says:

    almost ready and I am sure to get the time zones wrong however I will be here if not with bells on then at least with gloves, beanie and scarf.


  29. bucherwurm65 says:

    One of my favourite characters is Princess Viola in “Princess in Training” by Tammi Sauer. She’s fun, energetic, athletic, courageous and at times, a bit impulsive – the very characteristics that are making her a royal failure at being a prim and proper princess. Princess Viola tries her best but it just doesn’t look like it’s going to work out for her. Everyone has experienced times like that!


  30. quartermoon17 says:

    Ready to roll!


  31. Marijo Diaz says:

    I wasn’t sure what to expect as I ventured into this Summer School, having just begun dipping my toes into the shallow end of the writer’s pool, but this first post has grabbed my attention and I can hardly wait to get things started. Growing up, it was often the characters in my favorite books that kept me captivated and made me able to either relate to their stories, or be transported into their world. I only hope I am able to create some of the same for others. Thank you for allowing me to be part of this grand adventure!


  32. JEN Garrett says:

    I’m going to newest post now. 🙂


  33. Blows off the pencil shavings and cracks open the notebook.


  34. WOOT WOOT! Let us ride onward. 🙂


  35. My new friend is a real character 😀


  36. Nat Keller says:

    Great examples guys


  37. Love your characters and what they bring to the story. Got to love onion layering!


  38. Sue Frye says:

    This is just what I needed to flesh out my little darlings!


  39. Keila Dawson says:

    Wonderful ideas to help develop the characters we create. Let’s roll!


  40. HilleryRubens says:

    Thank you for a great start 🙂


  41. I think every MC needs a side-kick. I love creating those characters. Great ideas.


  42. Rita says:

    I’ve been on vacation and have some catching up to do… look forward to creating and developing my own characters!


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