When writing stories, there are three questions you can ask to improve your character development. These questions will help you sift your childhood memories and emotions for gold pieces. And these gold pieces will end up helping you tell the stories that are uniquely yours to tell.


This YouTube video we made from one of my Storyteller Academy class workshops gives a quick overview.



What kind of kid were you?


Picture book characters can be just like the kids you know. In fact, the best picture book characters tend to be easily recognizable. When you were a kid, what were you like? Were you like Pigeon, the talkative, know-it-all kid? Or were you the nervous kid, like Splat the Cat or Leonardo the Terrible Monster? Perhaps you were more like Olivia or Maxwell, an overly imaginative kid who acts out fantasies.


Identifying the kind of kid your character is will help you make them more relatable. And it’s easiest to write from your own experience.


What kind of trouble did you get into?


Once you’ve identified the kind of kid you were, remember how that affected you. What kind of problems did you create for yourself? Characters who create their own problems are more interesting and relatable than characters without flaws.


How can you contrast your characters?


If you have more than one character, then really contrast them. You want to have extreme opposites in their personalities, even the way they look. Think of Bert and Ernie or Gerald and Piggie or Frog and Toad. Oftentimes, the tension in the story will revolve around the conflict created by their opposing personalities. It makes the story more fun if they want different things. Their disagreements and disappointments will create tension and humor that really engage readers.


Try asking these three questions as you develop your characters. And have fun with it!