A Nova Scotia Artist & Author

A Nova Scotia Artist & Author

The Whole Story – Character

One day after recess, Greg*, a kindergarten student, approached me and said, “Sam hit me.”

“Really?” I replied. As surprised as I was that Sam would do this, I needed to act. Greg’s behavior often needed intervention and it was important that he felt the same justice when the roles were reversed.

“Sam, did you hit Greg?”

Sam nodded, his eyes filling with tears.

“Why did you do that?” I asked.

“I had to,” Sam replied. “I couldn’t move. He was sitting on my head.”

I recently read a published novel and afterword found myself wondering about the character’s motivation. Why did she act as she did and was the story believable? While writing my own stories, I “know” things about my characters that I think I’ve relayed to the reader. However, at times, enough of the story doesn’t make it onto the page to justify a character’s actions. A great way to vet your story’s believability during the draft stage is to have another trusted set of eyes take a look. After all, it may be essential for the reader to know that Greg sat on Sam’s head.


*Names have been changed.

2 thoughts on “The Whole Story – Character”

  • This could be a Readers’ Digest anecdote 🙂

    For writing, I think this is one reason we need a few trusted people to read and give their comments before our work is published, fiction or non-fiction. It’s so easy to picture what we know in our minds and not realize we’ve omitted a key detail. Thanks for giving us an illustration we’ll remember!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *