A couple days ago, I found something cool on the beach, and then I found something else cool today. My reaction to both things told me that I’m just a big kid, which I already knew, but they also got me thinking about voice and point of view and character…. But first, you want to know what I found, don’t you?
Yes, I found a message in a bottle — cool! — and worked for several minutes to get the note out. Turns out, it had bobbed over to my beach from a nearby island. Not exactly a long journey, but I put my name and location on the bottom of the note, re-sealed it in the bottle, and flung it as far as I could into the sea. Maybe it’ll catch a current and end up on a far-away shore, or maybe it’ll wash up where some poor soul is stuck on a deserted island and he’ll open it and find paper and pencil, and he’ll write an S.O.S., and his hope will be restored! Oh, the possibilities.
And then, I found a ship. Okay, it was actually a wood pallet, but imagine if you lashed it to a couple driftwood logs… hey! you could rescue the guy on the deserted island! Or you could at least imagine you were the one on the island and were now sailing into the open sea, warding off pirates and sharks as you headed off on a grand adventure.
See? Kid at heart. You understand why I write for children….
But on to my writing analogy. If you’re writing from a kid’s point of view, you have to see things the way a kid would. Or if you’re writing as a homeless guy (that pallet would make a decent wall to keep tonight’s rain out of my shelter) or a bored housewife (hey, a message in a bottle could set off a thrilling romantic rendezvous), you have to get in their head and see things the way they would see them.
You knew that, right? Yeah, so did I, but sometimes it’s good to remind ourselves of such things. That’s why I said it…not at all because I was grasping at straws/bottles/rafts to find something to blog about. ;)