Tammi.authorpic2015by Tammi Sauer

A few months ago, I introduced a new character—Ginny Louise. In Ginny Louise and the School Showdown, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger, it’s clear that Ginny Louise’s defining characteristic is that she is irrepressibly cheerful. No matter what comes her way, she is happy, happy, happy.

ginnylouisehighrescover ginnylouise.spotart1

Soon afterward, another character of mine crash-landed in a boy’s front yard. In Your Alien, illustrated by Goro Fujita, I wanted to create an irresistible alien that every earthling would love to have for his or her very own.

youralien alien

In my latest book Roar!, illustrated by Liz Starin, a young boy is the main character. His defining characteristic is that he wants, wants, wants to be a big, scary, fire-breathing dragon.


Knowing those characters inside and out helped me to make each book feel authentic.

Sometimes I really struggle to come up with an irresistible character. This calls for some brainstorming. By figuring out the details about a character, I can often uncover his or her story.

For this brainstorming exercise, fill in as many blanks as you can. You won’t use a lot of this information in your manuscript, but these details will help you to get to know your character. Sometimes all it takes to get a story started is discovering a character’s disposition, pet peeve, or fear.

Who knows? Maybe YOUR character is just what an editor is hoping to introduce to the world.

Type (kid, monster, chicken, alien…):

Item of clothing:
Type of music:

Pet Peeves:

What is his/her biggest fear?
What does he/she want more than anything?
What is stopping him/her from getting it?

Tammi Sauer is a former teacher and library media specialist who has visited hundreds of schools and spoken at various conferences across the nation. To date, Tammi has sold 24 picture books to major publishing houses (Bloomsbury, Disney*Hyperion, HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Simon & Schuster, and Sterling). In addition to winning awards, her books have gone on to do great things. Mostly Monsterly was selected for the 2012 Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories program. Me Want Pet! was recently released in French which makes her feel extra fancy. And Nugget and Fang, along with Tammi herself, was featured on the Spring 2015 Scholastic Book Fair DVD which was shared with millions of students. Visit her on the web at tammisauer.com.

PrizeDetails (2)
Tammi is giving away a signed copy of ROAR!

ROAR!, written by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Liz Starin, stars a little boy and two dragons who discover what it takes to ignite a friendship.

The trailer for ROAR! includes cameo appearances from some of today’s fiercest authors and illustrators. You’ve been warned. Please view responsibly.



Tammi is ALSO giving away a picture book critique!

Leave a comment below to enter. One comment per person, please.

These prizes will be given away at the conclusion of PiBoIdMo. You are eligible for these prizes if:

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Good luck, everyone!