Ever wondered how Rapunzel felt about having to deal with all that hair?
As writers we need to know these things. We need to imagine how our characters feel, what they think and how they make their way in the world. Dressing up as that character is a good way to do it. To write convincing characters we need to put on the persona of another; to feel what they feel and experience life as they do, no matter how briefly.
Dressing up gives us a chance to step out of our own comfortable shoes and walk for a while in those of a different character, trying out how it feels to be that other person. It’s one of the skills a writer develops by being observant, and by taking time to be someone else. To talk as they talk, walk as they walk, and carry their problems, struggling with a range of solutions and looking for the perfect plot lines.
Every year Children’s Book Week gives us the excuse to put aside time for that sort of research. When people accuse us of ‘playing dress-ups’ we can say ‘Oh, no. This is important work. I’m getting to know my characters, making them authentic and believable, getting inside their skin and bringing them to life.’
Happy Book Week 2022.