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katyaby Katya Szewczuk

Dear Reader,

About this time you should feel a strong connection with the characters you created. It’s natural for writers to think of their characters as their own children and even scold them sometimes. “Don’t act like this!” “Don’t do that!” Admit it, we’ve all at one time yelled at our characters. And that’s just what we’re talking about today. The bonds we form with our characters.

How to Bring Your Characters to Life

As a creative person your characters can be inspired from any part of your life. A cookie monster living in a cookie jar, a little boy who likes to play dress up and go on adventures with his imaginary friends, maybe even a gorilla who can’t stand the taste of bananas! But you need to think about what makes these characters stand out from the crowd. Be original. Today I’ll give you a few writing prompts that always work for me when creating my characters.


Living in Your Character’s Shoes

Do you remember playing pretend when you were young? When those monkey bars were a castle for the queen and king guinea pigs? When you’re a kid the world is your canvas. You can be anything and anyone you want to be! But as we grow older we tend to forget how “playing pretend” can actually help our creative minds grow.

So the first thing I want you to do is get into the mind of your characters and for a day solve your problems like your character would. Jump into their shoes and become them for one whole day. Once you do that you’ll see how attached you truly are with your characters. So put on those princess or prince crowns, get that magical wand and start your adventures!

Crafting Your Characters

Animators and illustrators tend to have an advantage when it comes to the craft of characters. Why? It’s because they know how to draw and get their characters out of their heads and onto paper. But who says a writer can’t delve into the doodling world ever so often?

Take a piece of paper, a pencil and scribble what you think your character looks like. This doodle doesn’t have to be perfect. Honestly, a quick sketch is all you need. You can also mold your characters out of clay and make them 3D to get a feel of what they would look like if they were standing next to you, or at least in the palm of your hand.

Once you get your characters out of your head your bond will surely become much stronger.


Short Back-Stories

This section isn’t about the regular short story that ranges from 500-1,000 words; it’s about your characters back-stories. Every character has a back-story, from the main characters to the minor, supportive cast. Back-stories help your characters develop overtime. It doesn’t have to be dramatic or comical, it can be as simple as why your character prefers cats to dogs (even though that may be an unsettled argument).

All you need to do is ask yourself this, “My character is this way because…?” and it will surely take you on an adventure.

So remember, playing pretend, crafting your characters and writing back-stories isn’t a crime. It’s a gift you can give to your characters. Once you do that you’ll discover a way to click with your readers and make your characters extremely relatable. You can do this! Just take your time, breath and walk in your characters shoes.


Katya is a KidLit TV producer, writer, and editor and is also the host of KidLit TV’s original shows Field Trip! and Inside Scoop. You can find her on location hosting Field Trip!, interviewing authors, illustrators and industry experts. For Inside Scoop Katya shares the latest and greatest news in the children’s literary world straight from the authors and illustrators themselves. Katya will soon be heard on, KidLit Radio, as the host where she talks with parents, teachers and librarians about the importance of literacy. She also has a YouTube Channel, KidlitKat, that teaches kids, teens and adults about the kid lit world and other forms of literature. In addition, Katya is currently working on two middle grade novels, a picture book and a graphic novel all of which she will be illustrating. Be on the look out for cat ears!

Find Katya online at, on Facebook, Twitter @Katyaszew and Instagram @KatyaShoveChuck

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Katya is giving away this cute kitty mug and spoon!

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