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Coaching KidLit Episode 30: Character Emotion on the Page

Coaching KidLit – EPISODE 30:

Character Emotion on the Page

In this episode, Christy and Sharon delve into the art of getting character emotion on the page and explore effective techniques for showcasing characters in their unique worlds, setting character-specific rules, and crafting emotionally engaging narratives.

Key Topics Covered:

  • Character Emotion Using Both Interiority and Exteriority
  • Importance of Showing Character in Their World
  • Seeing the World through the Character Lens
  • Conveying Emotions Vividly and Uniquely.
  • Using Dialogue and Actions to Reveal Inner Thoughts.
  • Developing Character Rules based on Beliefs and Misbeliefs
  • Adding Layers of Complexity

Books Mentioned:

The Eyes and the Impossible by Dave Eggers




[00:00:00] Sharon Skinner: Welcome to Coaching KidLit, a podcast about writing and publishing good KidLit.

[00:00:06] Christy Yaros: We dig into various aspects of writing craft through a KidLit lens and provide inspiration and clear actionable items to help writers like you move forward on their KidLit writing journeys.

[00:00:19] Sharon Skinner: I’m Sharon Skinner. Author accelerator, certified book coach, and author of speculative fiction and KidLit, including picture books, middle grade, and young adult.

[00:00:31] Christy Yaros: And I’m Christy yaros, author accelerator, certified book coach, and story editor, focusing on KidLit, including middle grade and young adult.

[00:00:40] Sharon Skinner: Hey, Christy.

[00:00:41] Christy Yaros: Hey, Sharon, how’s it going?

[00:00:42] Sharon Skinner: It’s going well. But I have this thing on my brain that I really want to talk about today. And it’s kind of wrapped around the idea of interiority versus exteriority and the emotion on the page. And how we show the way that our characters are operating in the world and acting and reacting without telling. But I want to go deeper than that.

[00:01:06] Christy Yaros: I love that. Why don’t we talk about it? Let’s deep dive.

[00:01:11] Sharon Skinner: Excellent.

So the reason this has been on my mind is because I’m seeing with a number of my writers. There are some challenges around matching the emotional situation with the actions that are taking place.

In other words, if your character’s dealing with something that is terrifying, then you don’t want to have something catch their attention that’s looks lovely, like a butterfly or something. And I want to talk about the difference between being able to get up close and personal with a character and getting all that interiority and being able to show through their eyes what’s going on versus only being able to provide outside information, but still getting all of that across.

And the other thing that I think writers struggle with is the visceral feelings that go with emotions. It’s hard to describe your stomach in knots without saying your stomach’s in knots, right?

It’s hard to describe what a character’s feeling in a fresh new way that’s not cliche. Everybody’s done the whole, oh, their stomach was in knots, or there were butterflies in her stomach because, she’s in love. But, finding new ways. I read one the other day where It was a stomach full of bees.

I loved that because that’s a buzzy fizzy feeling. It’s different, right? But it still gives me a visceral sensation of what the character was feeling.

[00:02:38] Christy Yaros: So like using the character to come up with metaphors that make sense given that character and their experiences and their worldview and their Age even.

[00:02:50] Sharon Skinner: Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, what would that character know? What would they be seeing and thinking and feeling? And how would you describe that through them? And again, it really always comes down to character lens in a way, but it’s broader than that.

It’s bigger than that because as you say, it’s about the world that they’re in, their age, how they’re related to the world, how they’ve experienced the world and getting deep into that understanding of where they would be in their development and in their thinking. And then using something that is very character appropriate to describe the situation or the feeling or the sensation.

[00:03:28] Christy Yaros: Right. Like, if I’m a city kid, it’s it buzzed like the subway. If it’s a country kid, it’s, it buzzed like the flies around the cow’s tails, but that gives us more than an adult cliche.

[00:03:44] Sharon Skinner: Yeah, you’re getting so much more character that way and you’re getting so much more flavor. it’s both character and world and all of that that you’re amping up when you do it that way. So I know this is a lot more advanced than some of the things that we talk about.

But it’s really not. It’s simply taking a lot of what we talk about in craft and combining it in a way that will really amp up how you’re getting your emotion on the page, how you’re developing your character, how you’re getting that setting to feel very real,

[00:04:19] Christy Yaros: Well, because I think people don’t think about world building unless they associate world building with fantasy or sci fi and not that literally every story is world building because we’re in this specific moment with this specific character at this specific time and place through them and you and I could be in this moment together and our world Building is still different because we are coming at the world from our own places.

So knowing that, yeah, I mean, it feels like a line editing type thing, but it’s also a prep thing of where is this character coming from and how am I going to approach the things in the story through, like I said, through character lens.

[00:05:01] Sharon Skinner: right? So When you’re writing along and you put conflict in their way, how they react to the conflict is going to be based on all those things. Who they are, their age, how they see the world, the experience that they’ve had in the past. All of that combines into how they react to that conflict, right?

And also their development in the story, because we always start. out with a character that needs to learn and grow if we want a solid character arc for them. So wherever they are in that development also ties into it and their response or their reaction to whatever that conflict is, if you feed all those things into it and make sure that it’s Again, appropriate to their age, appropriate to their experience, and where they are emotionally at that moment in the story, their reaction is going to be different depending on all of those things, right?

So just deciding that, oh, well, they’re just going to run away, Okay, but why? That goes back to that whole question of why does your character do something or why is this happening in your story? You can take all of that information and give us the reason why. In really deep strokes very easily because you already know that character on that level,

[00:06:18] Christy Yaros: Yeah. And mean, putting them in similar situations throughout and showing the difference now in how they react to it. Like, what did they learn from the first time? they, How does that change them or not change them? Because choosing not to change is still a choice. And then, their worldview is obviously changing as they go through the story because that’s what happens to our worldviews as we move through the world.

We get more information, we experience more things, it changes the way we see things, changes the way we see ourselves, so how do you reflect that? Without even outwardly stating this is the character’s change.

[00:06:53] Sharon Skinner: right and that’s the other thing too is that, thinking like your character is really important in that respect because you have to really get inside them and be able to understand who they are so, The whole idea behind showing interiority is to get inside the character’s head, in a way that that character would experience it, not you the narrator.

[00:07:14] Christy Yaros: So what do you know about your character and the way that their thoughts are,? If we’re in first person, we don’t necessarily assume that we have a reliable narrator. So are they telling us the truth? Are they not telling us the truth because they’re deliberately trying to deceive us, or are they deceiving themselves?

And we pick up on that. knowing those things, and then what they project outwardly to the world, is that on purpose? Are they purposefully projecting different character, like, to other people than what we see inside of them? Do they not realize that they’re being different? Is that part of the story, that we see a different person inside than we see outside until we get to where those two things come together, and we see both as the same person?

[00:07:58] Sharon Skinner: That’s really important too because it also comes down to the kind of dialogue that you’re putting on the page versus what the character might be thinking. or even if they’re not thinking, what does their body language show that might be different from what their words are saying?

That’s, mixed messaging. And it’s important for the reader brain. We pick up on that, right? The other characters might be oblivious. That’s fine. That’s great, because often that’s what we’re, watching to see what happens. But the reader needs to understand. The reader needs to pick up on the difference.

And you’ve got to cue us in somehow. And if you can’t cue us in because you’re not in close first person or close third, where we can get inside the character’s brain, then What we need is we need to see, you need to show us, not tell us, the way that the character is interacting with the world around them that can show us that contrast.

[00:08:55] Christy Yaros: And you’re like leaving like puzzle pieces for the reader to put together on their own. And I think sometimes in drafts, we tend to want to like hit that point home. So we show it and then we tell it, right? Like just, just in case you didn’t get what I just showed you, like, let me tell you.

So then in revision, that’s one of the things that you have to go through and decide, did I just do the same thing twice? And which one goes in this situation, do I want to just show and trust that the reader gets it, or am I not going to show it and I’m just going to tell it? Usually you do not need both.

[00:09:30] Sharon Skinner: Yeah, typically you don’t need both, but, that was, Something I did a lot early on when I was writing is I would tell what was going to happen and then I would show it. . As I got better at learning to show more in scene, I would do a lot of Okay, this is what’s going to happen.

I would tell it, a sentence or two, and then I would do a scene that showed that. And so I would have to go back and take those out. And I see that with writers. And I think that sometimes it’s just, we’re drafting and we don’t know what we’re going to write next until we write that down, that that’s what’s going to happen.

And then we write the scene. But sometimes, like you said, it’s because we’re not trusting the reader. And you’ve got to trust your reader to pick up on the things that you’re trying to lay down. If they’re not going to pick up on it in the ways that you’re showing it, then maybe they’re not your target reader, but there’s a certain level of trust the reader.

On the other hand, you have to get it out of your head and onto the page in a way that you’re at least giving them the puzzle pieces to put together. There are a lot of times where I see the other side of it too, where writers are drafting and they are not getting enough information on the page for the reader to put anything together as far as the deeper part of the story or the emotion again from the character.

What is the character feeling? What are they thinking? We’re not getting enough to understand that. We’re just watching them go through this. As if they’re an actor on a stage and we don’t really know what they’re doing. We’re just dialogue and moving them around like set pieces.

[00:10:59] Christy Yaros: Yeah. So it’s partly also trusting yourself as the writer that you’re doing a good job in showing and putting it down and that the reader is going to pick up on it. And then allowing the reader to trust you by you not holding back from them things that they need in order to engage with the story, just to use it in a way to drag them along.

Like, I’m holding back this information in the hopes that you will keep reading, so that you will find it when it’s like, no, I need this. So that I want to keep going. I need to be more invested. Help me be more invested.

[00:11:37] Sharon Skinner: I love that you said that because, you know, reader trust is so important. And I talk about that a lot with my clients because we want to know we’re in good hands, that we are going on this journey. That we’re taking along with the characters.

We want to know that we’re in good hands, that there’s a purpose and a reason for the journey and that we are going to actually get somewhere. Right? We don’t want to go on this long journey and think, oh, this was a travelogue. It was just nothing but a travelogue and I got to see the world, but there was no story there.

That’s frustrating for a reader. I mean, your prose can be as beautiful as you want it to be. It can be absolutely stellar. But if there’s no there there, why am I going to spend 300 pages with you and with your character? And I want to be able to trust you as a reader that I’m going to get something out of this that I came here for.

[00:12:28] Christy Yaros: The promise of the premise, but also that I’m not wasting my time, and that you actually are gonna let me live through this character’s life here, you ever watch a mystery show, and then they’re like, aha, and here’s who the killer really was, and we never saw them in the entire episode, and you’re like, well, what the, like, how was I supposed to get that?

I’m supposed to be picking up clues with you. And coming to the conclusion, and you totally took that away from me, so am I just here to see how clever you are? Don’t be that writer who, who drags the reader along to go, ha ha, look how clever I am.

You didn’t know this.

[00:13:08] Sharon Skinner: Yeah, I think the, worst one for me was when I was a kid and we used to steal my dad’s murder mysteries and his detective stories, his, all his noir. And I was really enjoying them till I got the one where the guy who’s the detective and everybody thought he had done the crime all this time. And then at the end, it turned out he had a twin brother he didn’t know about.

I’m like, really? There were no clues along the way that actually pointed to that, except for that everybody kept saying they saw him. I mean, that’s just bull, Right, I was done.

[00:13:41] Christy Yaros: Right, like, who would assume, why would you assume that’s the answer, that you have a twin you didn’t know about. Well, that’s like, we say, When the reader starts reading, you’re handing them a backpack, and they’re collecting things and carrying it that are gonna mean something.

So you just filled that character’s backpack with all of this crap. And they didn’t need any of it. They just lugged all of that through the whole story for absolutely no reason. That’s just cruel. I don’t trust you anymore. I’m never reading another one of your books. That’s it.

[00:14:13] Sharon Skinner: I never did. 50 years on and I’ve never read another one of those books. I love that metaphor of the backpack and you’re giving them the things they need to carry with them through the story. I just absolutely love it because it’s so true that It goes back to that thing that we say all the time, give the reader exactly what they need, when they need it, not before, not after, but when they need it to keep going and understand where they’re at in the story.

They need enough information to keep going. They need it when they need it. That’s why we talk about don’t info dump. Don’t give them everything up at the front. Don’t fill the backpack in the front. You don’t fill the backpack up and then expect them to drag the whole thing along the way.

Readers want an experience. They want to do some of the work. They want to put some of those puzzle pieces together. So giving them Too much or not enough information can be a problem. And I know, how do you know? How do you know what’s enough? What’s too much? Well, it goes back to put in their backpack exactly what they need, when they need it, to keep going and understand where they’re at in the journey.

[00:15:21] Christy Yaros: I mean, we all want to feel clever as human beings. Readers as watchers, like even as adults, I mean you watch a movie, you watch a tv show, you’re thinking like, oh I see, I think I see what they’re doing here, like you want to figure out the end. And that’s what like we talk about with kids books, And I can’t remember exactly who said this first, but I hear this all the time, is you want the ending to be, surprising, but inevitable, right?

Like, we knew that this is kind of where it had to go, but still we feel like, oh yeah, like, that was a little unexpected. So you can’t completely bamboozle and give us an ending that we did not see coming. You don’t want it to be so predictable that you’ve given us every single piece and you’ve left nothing for us to put together ourselves.

So yeah, it is that balance. And then that balance will depend on the age of your audience certainly an eight year old cannot carry around as much throughout the book as a 17 year old can, or as much as an adult can. And so what are you giving them?

But I think what I see is too much information sometimes, like you’re giving too much, but then you’re also holding back too much of the good stuff, like you said, the emotion on the page, the thought process. let us literally experience this with the character, no matter what point of view you’re using.

[00:16:40] Sharon Skinner: but how you do that is still related to who that character is in that world at that time in their lives, I mean, yes, there are, omniscient narrators who can tell a story from way above and stuff. But yet we still get emotion on the page. We still understand that character and that character where they’re at in their world because the narrator’s telling us and showing the character’s behaviors and actions in a way that suit the world and suit the character and suit the moment.

[00:17:10] Christy Yaros: Yeah, so how do you do that? How do we figure that out? That’s the question, right? Because that’s what everybody’s saying. Okay, yeah, great, Sharon and Christy, you make sense, but how the heck are we supposed to figure this stuff out?

[00:17:22] Sharon Skinner: Well, like you said, I know some of it feels like it gets into the line editing because at that point, it’s word choices and things like that. I like to use the example of how the world looks and feels based on the emotion of the character at that time.

If you’re talking about a very dark moment and the sun is shining, it might feel like it’s mocking the emotion that the character is going through. It might feel oppressive. I don’t want to go out into the bright sunlight. I need to be in this dark place. I am in this dark place and I just can’t, bear the world right now because it’s too bright. It’s too happy.

Or if it’s rainy and drizzly and ugly out and that matches the character, that’s a whole other way of how you express it. You can say the gray overcast clouds hung heavily, just like the character’s feelings. That’s a terrible iteration of it, but that could be cleaned up and fancied up.

But in the moment when you’re drafting, Those are placeholders, right? You put that kind of stuff, you can put cliche in through your whole book as far as I’m concerned during the initial drafting because those are placeholders. But when you go back in, you’re looking for anything that seems cliche or seems Like it doesn’t fit in that world or with that character and you’re going to take those things and revise them and rewrite them so that they are more suitable.

But if you keep in your mind as you’re going how that Juxtaposition of the character and their world and how they’re sensing it and all that. Try and keep that in mind as you go through in the drafting. You’ll have these great placeholders and sometimes you’ll get these really, really gorgeous gems that you’ll keep because they’re just so good.

[00:19:08] Christy Yaros: When you’re drafting, just draft. Get through it. Because there’s so much that you cannot do until you have told that story from beginning to end. And you are learning your character too. So now that you know your character better, you can go back and look at those cliches and say, okay, now that I know how my character moves through the world, how do I make this very specific to This character, which then makes it more universal for everybody because of that weird way that that works.

[00:19:36] Sharon Skinner: Yeah, but even in drafting, if you can get yourself immersed in the world and get yourself up close and personal with the character, you’re at least laying the groundwork, right? You’re putting the bones down for those things ahead of time. And as you go and you get to know your character better, those bones get stronger.

They get clearer. You get more of that flavor of the world and the character and who they are as they’re on this journey. And that’s one of the reasons we always say that after you’ve written a book, you’ve got to always go back. No matter what your process is for drafting, if you revise along the way or not, you’ve got to go back and rewrite the beginning, because the beginning won’t really be the level of writing that you’ve got for that story by the time you’ve gotten to the end.

So the end and the beginning won’t really match up as well. So going back and rewriting that beginning and focusing in to make sure that it’s at the level of the end of the story is a really good place to start.

[00:20:34] Christy Yaros: And also making sure that you can emphasize that contrast between who that character is at the end versus who that character was at the beginning so that we’re sure that we’re going on a journey. But I don’t know if we’ve talked about this on the podcast before, but I know like this is something we use in our coaching is that the hierarchy of editorial concerns. I’m not sure if we’ve talked about that.

[00:20:55] Sharon Skinner: We, may have mentioned it, but I don’t think we’ve dug into it.

[00:20:58] Christy Yaros: but it’s something that I try to emphasize. So if you think of a pyramid, if you will, and what you’re focusing on, When you’re first starting, when you’re doing your planning, when you’re doing your drafting which is your high level zoomed out things versus, when you get higher onto the pyramid, like the very top would be like copy editing and proofreading stuff.

But like through every level of this, there are things you can do with your character that help you to convey these things and it’s not just about that specific word choice at the end. So I think like maybe some planning that goes into, I’m thinking of, have you read the Eyes and the Impossible?

[00:21:37] Sharon Skinner: I did. read the Eyes and the impossible.

[00:21:39] Christy Yaros: by Dave Eggers. That is an animal protagonist. And yet, he has his own set of rules of the way that he interacts with his world, right? The narrator is very smart about certain things and very oblivious about certain other things. But it’s believable because that’s his world.

He’s a dog. He sees the world as a dog. He relates everything to being a dog I run the fastest, I can do these things, and yet he doesn’t know what, like, certain other things are. Because why would he? He’s a dog. And this is an exercise that I did with one of my clients who has an animal character, but I think it would work for kind of anybody is thinking about like, what are the rules of your character that like, what do they know about?

What do they think they know about that they don’t really know about? What are they oblivious about and how does that come across and how does that help us to get to know them better and to see the way that they feel and the way that they think and what you show us.

[00:22:38] Sharon Skinner: That’s a great example because when you get inside the animal and you’re running with the dog and the dog, runs faster than light, right? Is invisible and in his mind, in his mind. And you’re going through this thinking, is that true? Is that not true? And, oh, maybe he’s an unreliable narrator.

And why is that? Well, it’s because he’s a dog and he sees everything from his perspective. When he says they’ve been here a million years. In his mind, it’s been forever, right? So we get it as we go along, but we don’t get that all up front. We get it as we go along. We get to know the character as we get to know the story as we go on the journey with them.

So we’re told what we need to know as we need to know it, and we start to come to some realizations toward the end of it. And we start to see the hints and the foreshadowing of what’s to come and what realizations the character’s going to have along the way. Those puzzle pieces that you’ve talked about earlier, we’re putting those in our backpack, so when in inevitably comes to light, what’s happening? We’re there, we’re right there. we get it

[00:23:49] Christy Yaros: we won’t give any spoilers to you so that you can read it because it is it was really a fascinating book. And just the way that Eggers was able to take and he has an author’s note in the beginning that says like this is a dog he’s not a metaphor, he’s not a human he’s a dog.

But it’s such a good lesson, I think, for any writer in how to build that world around a character and their worldview. I mean, the way he hates the ducks, it’s just, it’s so funny. And again, he’s so specific in how he views each of these things, and it’s because of the interactions that this character has had with these animals and these other creatures and people who come in, you know. He lives in a park, who is it that he comes across, what animals, in what contexts, .

And it becomes like you’re right there with him experiencing that, even if maybe you don’t buy that he runs as fast as, as light, you know, he believes that. And that tells us. About him. And then we understand him better.

[00:24:51] Sharon Skinner: Yeah, it’s a really good example of what we’re discussing here is that how do you show the character in their world at the place that they are at, at the time that they run into whatever it is they react to.

[00:25:05] Christy Yaros: Yeah. And no spoilers, but go read it and you’ll see even more what we’re talking about.

[00:25:10] Sharon Skinner: Yeah, , and it’s a fast read, so we’re not asking you to read a thousand pages or anything. It goes pretty quick. it’s on the recommended list. what’s funny about that is that I started it and the day that I started it, I was like, I can’t, I’m not in it, right? And then, the library notice came that it was overdue and I was like, oh, I better go read that book. And then I couldn’t put it down because it was that engaging. He did such a nice job with it. But I’m also right now reading a book. Well, there’s a book on my bedside table that I keep starting and stopping and I might DNF this book.

It’s the second book in a series, but I may just DNF it. And not because there’s anything wrong with the book. But because there’s just too much in it that’s too close to what’s really happening in the world today right now for me, so I keep reading other books like, A Boy Called Christmas, by Matt Hagg, which is so much lighter, right? And there’s some darkness in it, but it’s so much lighter and easier to take, than this really involved fantasy novel that is all about war and prejudice and just too much right now.

I think we’ve talked around this subject a bit and again, we know that this is thinking in a little bit of a higher level, in the way that you pull all the things together, because usually when we talk here on the podcast, we talk about specific craft aspects and we’re kind of talking here about a lot of different things being combined together to do the work and how they all work together.

Are you ready to do an action item?

[00:26:40] Christy Yaros: Yeah. I think I’m just going to give you the action item that I just mentioned that, came out of reading The Eyes and the Impossible. And that is maybe to come up with a set of rules that your character follows. And, how they interact with the world. Think about things like the way that they present themselves to others.

Is it the way that they feel about themselves inside? And does that vary depending on whether they’re around, their parents, or other adults, or their friends. And knowing some of these nuances, that this is the way that I speak when I’m with my friends. This is the way that I speak to my parents.

This is the way I don’t speak in front of my parents. It helps you to really know how to show, And what to show, I guess, because if, if you’re around your parents and you don’t speak as much, what’s going through your mind? So now we see the interiority there. We see maybe some of the emotion in the body, versus a friend that you can talk to all the time, where we see, That ease through the dialogue.

So, a roundabout way of saying, come up with some kind of set of rules by which your character lives by, what things they know, what things they don’t know, what things they think they know, and see if you can keep building on that, like a character worksheet, keep building on that as you go through and you see more things.

And then also as a check. When you’re looking at your writing to see am I being consistent with the way that I’m showing these things.

[00:28:10] Sharon Skinner: I like that. And for a little bit more of that to help you to build that of how they see things and what they know and what they don’t know, I would recommend that you do a list of what they believe. What do they believe in? What do they disbelieve? So do they believe in love?

Do they believe in magic? Do they believe that they should be able to do whatever they want without parental control? Do they believe in their parents and the rules that are set for them? Do they believe in following the rules? Do they believe in breaking the rules? Are they rebellious in that way?

Having a nice idea of what their worldview is, how they perceive what’s out there in the world and what they believe and what they don’t believe. Do they have a spiritual belief or a religious belief? Do they not ?

And what has influenced them of course would be all of the things that they’ve experienced and the information that they’ve been given. But how do they see the world? What is it they believe and disbelieve? I think that if you can make a list of that, that really is going to be helpful when you start to develop the rules that they have around how they interact in the world.

[00:29:24] Christy Yaros: I love that. I think that’s a, that’s such a great idea because even kids have beliefs and they don’t have to be true. Right, because obviously misbelief is a whole part of character but especially as a kid, your beliefs may come from your parents beliefs.

And they’re not necessarily yours, but that’s important to know too, or maybe when you start to question whether your beliefs are the same as what your parents have told you or what the people around you have told you. That can add so many layers this is some great stuff, you guys, too.

Like, maybe we should put together a little worksheet, Sharon, and then include it in the show notes.

[00:29:58] Sharon Skinner: I happen to have a character worksheet about beliefs and worldviews that I can actually post up there. And it’s all part of my, course on keys to creating compelling characters that I’m building right now, but I’d be happy to put the worksheet up.

[00:30:16] Christy Yaros: Great. Yeah, I have a worksheet that I can throw up with my action item too, so be sure to grab that. And like we said, this does feel like a more of a deep dive on some things, but I think you’ll find you can apply this to all levels of your writing, wherever you are in your process, that it’s things to either start jotting down, that you’ll go back to in revision, or things that you can pull out of your story if you’re already doing revision, or things you can plan

[00:30:45] Sharon Skinner: When you get it in your brain, a lot of it will subconsciously come out during the writing. Once you’ve got this information in your brain, It organically will come out on the page and you will be surprised at some of the beautiful gems that will just come out of you. And yeah, not every line that you write, especially in early drafting, is going to be beautiful. That’s why you have to sift through it and find the gems.

[00:31:08] Christy Yaros: And I think you’ll find too that once you know some of these things, it’ll inform the way that you write and you’ll find that you won’t need to explain Why they feel that way, right? You’ll just be able to start showing these things and it’ll add a lot of layers of complexity to your character without info dumping.

[00:31:27] Sharon Skinner: Yeah. And knowing their beliefs is a great, opportunity to be able to have other characters beliefs in opposition or contrast that creates tension, it creates conflict there’s a lot that can be done just by knowing what they believe and how they see the world and what rules they live by.

[00:31:45] Christy Yaros: Going back to the previous episode about theme, knowing what your character believes and how your characters use the world, how can you deliberately put people and situations in their way that directly oppose or reinforce or make them question or whatever it is that you can then build all of these things. You know us by now, you know we could talk about this for hours, so we’ll save some of it for a future episode.

[00:32:14] Sharon Skinner: Thanks for listening!!

[00:32:15] Christy Yaros: And we will see you soon.

[00:32:16] Sharon Skinner: Bye for now.

[00:32:18] Christy Yaros: We hope you enjoyed this episode of Coaching KidLit, a writing and book coaching podcast for writers who want to level up their KidLit writing game.

[00:32:25] Sharon Skinner: For more about us and to discover what a book coach can do for you, check out coachingkidlit. com and follow us on social media.



Follow us on Instagram and Twitter: @CoachingKidLit

For more information about Sharon Skinner, visit or follow her on Instagram @sharon_skinner_author_bookcoach and Twitter @SharonSkinner56.

For more information about Christy Yaros, visit or follow her on Instagram and Twitter @ChristyYaros.


Want to know more about working with a Book Coach on your KidLit book? Check out my KidLit Coaching Page  or fill out my inquiry form for a FREE Consult call and let’s get started!


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