Creating Character

Updated: Jan 21, 2020

The morning sunshine soaks up the blinds in my living room as I write this. Autumn is a time of reflection in taking a deep breath and regrouping as the last specks of summer light begin to fade. It’s time to put away the flip flops and get out the sweaters, rubber boots and spiced tea.

I’ve been brainstorming ideas about Milly’s next storybook. After experiencing some months of writer’s block, Milly finally poked her head out. A little timid at first, she sparks an interest to join in on some of the plotting. The next book is certainly going to have some excitement and new characters. Oh, and don’t worry – Chip will be in the midst of it all. Or will he? After all, he’s not a reliable character. Of those of you who read Milly The Naughty Pony will know Mr. Crocker’s farm is where Milly and the other animals live but there is an outsider who comes to share a tall tale that leaves everyone a little... ruffled.

One of the things I’m working on when it comes to character development is mannerisms. What are some mannerisms that construct a character’s inner being? How do you sparingly show these mannerisms rather than tell them to the reader? It’s an exercise I’ve been working on with Milly. She’s a spunky pony full of personality, so is there a mannerism that defines her? And just like painting, stroke by stroke, the character’s individuality should come into view. I hope you’ll be able to recognize it in what will be Milly The Naughty Pony storybook series and I'm very EXCITED to share this.

Over the summer I spent an afternoon at the Beacon Hill Children’s Farm to find some inspiration. I met some lovable characters that have lived there for decades. My two favourites were Maverick and Mabel the resident pigs.

They suntan and sleep on fluffy dog beds but when they’re in need of a good rubdown they come over to the visitor fence and oink for belly rubs with their little tails wiggling – it’s quite funny!

The goat stampedes at 10 am and 4 pm daily in the summertime are a sure crowd-pleaser. Honestly, if those baby goats don’t leave a smile on your face, I’m not sure what will. All ages enjoy hanging out with them in the visitor corral area. I took enough pictures (and provided enough nose pets) to help inspire some pretty sweet faces for Milly’s book. Now enough of all the snuggles and cuddles, it’s time to write.

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