In CREATING CHARACTERS KIDS WILL LOVE, Elaine Marie Alphin gives us fantastic advice which can be applied to any writer.
We learn things from giving our characters the stories they need, a story in search of a cast, and even bringing nonfiction to life.
Ms. Alphin offers a section at the end of every chapter that deals with read the pros. Scattered inside the chapters are little writing exercises called, Try it Yourself. Here is one that I loved from the chapter called, Keeping Grown-ups in their place: Write a conversation between a youngster and an adult he or she sees everyday, such as the bus driver or cashier at your local McDonald's. (Though my kids have always been home-schooled and didn't do either of those.) So I did mine with the elderly neighbor down the road from our farm. Think of something they have in common that would get them to talking. They both might be shy. How do they overcome that to talk to each other?
Another one: In chapter 4 there is an excellent character interview questionnaire. 56 questions to be exact.
She talks about the letters she receives from kids about why they love her books. The number one reason? Her characters are just like they are. They identify with them. They compare themselves to the characters we create. But that's true for anyone. So buy the book and grab your highlighter.
I recommend this book to all writers. At least check it out from your local library.