If you are interested in writing books for children, you will want to know how to write children’s characters or characters that children will love to read about and aspire to be like. However, if you are writing a book with children’s characters, you will want to take it as seriously as drawing adult characters.
Here are some tips to help you write believable children’s characters.
Firstly, you will want to determine the age group that your child’s character is. This aspect is equally crucial for writing a book exclusively for children – in which case, you will want to research the age group you are writing for.
This way, you will ensure that you write a good children’s book that has all the elements of the respective genre. Once you have the draft ready, you will want to know how to self-publish a children’s book.
Nonetheless, when it comes to writing or drawing children’s characters for your book, you will want to decide on which age group they belong to and then proceed to do extensive research about their age group regarding behavior, thought process, how they act, and how they speak.
You see- children behave differently in different age groups. For instance, a one-year-old will never act and speak in a way a five-year-old does. Children of different ages behave, speak, and respond differently.
So, research is absolutely mandatory if you want to draw believable characters. The last thing that you will want to do is to have a seven-year-old in your novel understand an adult situation or speak like a thirty-year-old.
A one-year-old will throw a tantrum if they cannot communicate what they want. On the other hand, a five-year-old will try to negotiate with you before resorting to a tantrum. Children aren’t like adults who will go to the extent of thinking before they speak.
Treat Your Character as a Person
You will want to treat your child’s character like a real child. They should be young and inexperienced. Each child is different. Sometimes the cutest ones are naïve. While creating child characters, you will want to use the same process as adult characters.
You will want to give the children characters strengths, flaws, motivation, and backstories – just like you would with any other character in your stories. If you have ever been around kids, you might already know that they are full of personality.
Of course, you don’t have to be overly detailed with your younger characters. As they are children characters, they are just starting out in life and have smaller goals as compared to adult characters.
The goals of your children’s characters should be as simple as going out to the park or getting a new toy. These smaller things in life are usually a big deal for children. Also, your children’s characters won’t have as much of a backstory as your adult characters because the children’s characters have only experienced this tiny bit of life.
Nonetheless, while drawing their characters, you will want to point out certain things, such as their fears and the things they love. Suppose your child’s character is afraid of the dark – you will want to portray why they are afraid of the dark.
Do they love Disney movies? If yes, then which one and why. Are your children’s characters raised by either parents, one parent, or a guardian? Were they neglected, or were they well-taken care of? It is important for you as a writer to know their backstory.
You might want to use a mind map to draw the details of your characters and determine how they are different from one another. Even if the children characters in your book aren’t the main character, you will want to have them fully developed so that you can write about them with consistency throughout your book.
Children Reflect Adults & their Surroundings
Many people have the misconception that kids do what they are told to do. The truth is that children reflect the adults around them. You might have heard it before – monkeys do what they see other monkeys do.
Simply put – kids learn how to behave from what they are exposed to from what is acceptable. They act according to how the adults around them act. Children also learn to speak by repeating what they hear adults talk about.
That said, the adults that your child’s characters are around – or look up to – will likely have a greater influence on them than anyone else. Children also learn via experimenting. We all are born with the natural instinct to interpret emotions and expressions.
Because of this natural instinct – a child will learn that breaking things is bad because, evidently, to them – the parent got upset about it. They also learn that being gentle with the family pet is a good thing because it makes everyone around them happy.
Children are more likely to learn from their mistakes when there isn’t an adult around to give them positive or negative reinforcement. You will want to keep in mind the impact of the children’s surroundings on them while drawing their characters.
Aim at a Natural Balance
When drawing your children’s characters, you will want to refrain from drawing them overly wise or as dumb as a rock. For instance – no three-year-old would return home from kindergarten one day and exclaim with a sigh how they wish that there was no evil in the world.
This is certainly an adult thing to do. Children aren’t mystical wise beings – though they have a different way of viewing the world. On the other hand, if you are ever going to get around a child – you will see that they are essentially smart.
Just because they cannot communicate efficiently doesn’t mean they are dumb. When drawing children’s characters, you will want to make them as realistic as possible, which brings us to the importance of conducting research and even hanging out with kids of the age group you want to write about.