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  Characters and Problems


CHARACTERS AND PROBLEMS



OLIVIA



ARNIE THE DOUGHNUT



ASSIGNMENT:

Have you read Arnie the Doughnut, by Laurie Keller? It's one of my all time favorites because of it's zaniness and plot. It's also a great cast study for looking at how the storyteller built a story around a character and problem. So here's the assignment. Get the book, Arnie the Doughnut. If you can't get the book, you can watch a reading here. (Reading the book and flipping through the pages yourself is so much better, so do that if you can.)

Answer the following:

  • Who is the character? What are his/her attributes?
  • How does the storyteller introduce the character?
  • What's the character's problem?
  • Is the problem relatable, interesting or humorous to kids?
  • How does the storyteller evolve (escalate) the problem?
  • Are there any events or scenes that don't relate to the problem? If so, would the story be improved by cutting the scene out?
  • How does the storyteller resolve the problem?
  • How does the character grow by the end of the story?



THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT




EXERCISE: EMPATHY

Another favorite book (there are so many good ones) is Drew Daywalt's The Day the Crayon's Quit. Pick a color and write a letter to Duncan. If you have a flood of ideas for your color, just keep writing. If you are having a hard time coming up with ideas, try the post-it exercise. You could list out a few colors, then list feelings and life experiences. Make a collage with your post-its to see if that sparks new ideas.

You could also write things your crayon might say on index cards. Revise until you're happy with it.

Share what you've come up with on our FB group.


ASSIGNMENT: YOUR CHARACTER & PROBLEM

Take a look at your story and your characters. What's your character's problem? You should be at a stage where you have an idea for a story, have created lots of doodles and have a few lines or feelings for scenes you want to connect. Examine your character and ask yourself the questions:

  • Who is the character? What are his/her attributes?
  • How are you introducing the character? What does it reveal about your character?
  • What's the character's problem?
  • Is the problem relatable, interesting or humorous to kids?
  • How do you evolve (escalate) the problem?
  • Are there any events or scenes that don't relate to the problem? If so, would the story be improved by cutting the scene out?
  • How do you resolve the problem?
  • How does the character grow by the end of the story?

NOTE- After you build your dummy and have page turns, it is much easier to understand and feel the reader's experience. It's also easier to understand how your character should evolve. Sometimes, I can project what I think should happen in the story just by turning pages to a dummy. We'll cover building a dummy in the third lecture this week.

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