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Free Writing Tips

The Co-op is pleased to present free writing tips from Julie Bogart, the creator of the popular Brave Writer writing curriculum.

Unique character traits

Sometimes new writers tend to create story characters that are difficult to distinguish from one another. But to make a story interesting it's important for each individual to have his or her own unique traits. For example, suppose three people attend the same birthday party for a friend. One is the center of attention, laughing, pulling people up to dance, and first in line for the buffet. Another is shy and quiet, holds back his smile and stands alone in the corner, while the third sits down at the piano and starts playing, hoping others will notice and join him.

Talk with your kids about how people in real life and in fiction respond differently to various situations. Newspapers and television news reports often show how people react to a sudden explosion in a neighborhood, receiving an athletic award or seeing a dog chasing a child down the block.

How could paying attention to what people in real life do in certain situations help a writer create more interesting and believable characters in a story? For example, a female character might be waiting to catch a bus when a stranger runs up and gives her a small box. "Hold this!" the man shouts and disappears. What could the character do? Take the box and jump on the bus? Open the box to see what's inside and then miss the bus? Leave the box on the ground? Call the police?

To create well-rounded, true-to-life characters in stories, authors must show the differences between them.
on writing and language arts curriculum from Brave Writer -- by and for homeschoolers!
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