From Brain to Bookshop

2: Character, character, character


Welcome to the second ‘From Brain to Bookshop’ video, all about characters. I look at a few favourites (Harry Potter and Eeyore both get mentions), and talk about the importance of names, appearance and making characters that are believable. Readers don’t necessarily need to like a character: they just need to remember them! Trigger warning: I mention the character, Lizzie, in my books. She’s based off a combination of real people and I reference that her mother died the day after giving birth. 

A Challenge

Download a PDF that you can use with or without the video. There’s a brief, fun challenge in there – and then there’s a prompt to help students create their own character(s). Obviously, this is all about writing but I have said students can draw their character if they prefer. As long as everything matches and works logically together, I would say they’ve created a strong character. 

Piece 1

It’s coming up to Christmas – and I fully appreciate that not all schools or students will want to take that into account. If it isn’t your thing, read this story first and see if it’ll work for your students. It’s just a fun, short story with particular emphasis on character names – and how we can reveal character through the ways they behave. 

Piece 2

And this is the opening to a story, that is very much about introducing a character – ‘Samantha Featherpenny’. As ever, please read it first before sharing with your class: it’s just a silly little lighthearted piece but it does mention divorce (in neither a positive nor a negative light). Students could think about houses and they could reflect completely different characters: a sort of ‘who lives in a house like this?’ challenge could be created, using quirky homes from around the world. There are some really fun ones here.

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