#10 Writing About Your Childhood

It seems a bit obvious for people who write for children, doesn’t it? Write about your childhood. Tell the story of little you learning to dress, dealing with bullies, finding that dragon egg on the beach and hatching it at home, building your first robot–you have a thousand unfiltered stories.

And so do your characters. Showing where a character has come from can quickly answer why they are the way they are.

It doesn’t need to be extensive, just a subtle touch to show the reader where your character came from.

Here’s an exercise:

  1. Close your eyes and think of your earliest childhood memory. Picture as much as you can: where you were, who was there, etc. Now, write what you’ve remembered as a scene in a story and tap into the senses.
  2. Think about something that happened in your early life that you now realize has shaped who you are and how you make decisions. Write that scene as a story, then write a later passage showing the long-term effects of the event on the character.
  3. If you’re already writing a story, find the opportunity to give all of your characters more depth by showing a scene from earlier in their life.

By J. M. Tuckerman

J.M.Tuckerman is a neurodivergent writer with a big education. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, an MA in Writing, and a BA in Writing Arts (specializing in Creative Writing, New Media Writing, and Publication; concentrating in New Media Production), which she somehow managed to earn despite her three very loud and large dogs. Jessica was lucky enough to intern at Quirk Books and Picador, USA while earning her masterโ€™s degrees. Her service dog, Ringo, is very proud of all that she has accomplished and hopes to be on a back cover of a published book with her very soon. An avid reader, writer, and lover of young adult and middle-grade literature, Jessicaโ€™s bookshelf is overflowing with hardbacks, paperbacks, and a million half-filled notebooks. She is a proud fur-mommy to two lab/st-bernard littermates, a retriever-mix service dog, and one orange little hobgoblin cat, all of whom have made very audible appearances on the Booked All Night podcast.

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