Chapter 11 of 24 from Judy Blume

Creating Memorable Characters - Part 2

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Judy encourages you to explore voice and point of view until you land on a storytelling style that fits your characters. That style should reflect all the details that contribute to a character’s experience and journey.

Topics include: Make Your Characters Outsiders • Outsider Character: Sally J. Freedman • Write Letters to Reveal Character • Explore Voice and Point of View • Read to Develop a Voice • Make the Names Fit • Emphasize With Your Characters

Judy Blume

Judy Blume Teaches Writing

In 24 lessons, Judy Blume will show you how to develop vibrant characters and hook your readers.

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A lot of my characters are outsiders, I guess. I've never thought about that, but looking back I see that they are. Moving to a new place. So I had that experience. I lived in one house, really from when I was two years old until I graduated from high school, but in the middle there, in third and fourth grades, we moved to Miami Beach for the school year. My mother was funny. My mother would not go until she thought hurricane season was over. Nevermind that we had to start school in New Jersey, and then by Halloween my brother and I were in another place in another school. We were new kids. I was the new kid. It's bad enough to be the new kid, or hard enough to be the new kid at the beginning of the school year, but to come in after everybody else, at Halloween, that was something. And I did it twice. Third grade and fourth grade. Although I wrote about it in Sally J. Freedman, and I put her in fifth grade. So it was my experience. I know what that felt like, to be a new kid. So I often move my characters around. I mean, Margaret's a new kid. Yeah, it's interesting. It's interesting to write a character who's the outsider, for one reason or another. Deenie becomes an outsider because of what happens to her. She feels alone and isolated, although she has very kind friends who are with her. She doesn't necessarily feel that, but she is lucky to have those friends. So I think being an outsider is an interesting place to be for your character. Not for you necessarily, but for your character. So in Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself, a family story set in the late 40s-- actually my most autobiographical book, because it takes place in Miami Beach, as I've said I went to Miami Beach for two school years, and being separated from family, all of that was very hard-- but Sally, I think of all of my characters, Sally is the kind of child I was. Curious, imaginative. I despise the secrets that parents and grandparents kept from the children. I hated secrets. To this day I hate secrets, and I think it's because of that. But in this scene the phone rings, and of course, there's always a great fear that something will have happened to Sally's beloved father. That's what Sally's afraid of. But in this case, it's very good news, and very good news is that there is going to be an addition to the family. And that's how they put it. An addition! Oh congratulations, that's such wonderful news. That's the best news, an addition. An addition, Sally thought. What does that mean? It's got to be something good. They're all so happy. An addition? Maybe Aunt Betty has passed some kind of arithmetic test. Now that's silly. It has to be something else. I am so sick of secrets! Why doesn't anybody ever tell me what's going on? When mom and Ma Fanny were off the phone, Douglas said, that's gre...

Write timeless stories

Judy Blume broke the rules. Her refreshingly honest children’s books were banned by hundreds of libraries—and loved by generations of readers, who bought 85 million copies of classics like Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and Superfudge. In her first online class, the award-winning author teaches you how to invent vivid characters, write realistic dialogue, and turn your experiences into stories people will treasure.

Watch, listen, and learn as Judy teaches her first-ever writing class.

A downloadable workbook accompanies the class with lesson recaps, assignments, and supplemental material.

Upload videos to get feedback from the class. Judy will also critique select student work.

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Judy Blume

Judy Blume Teaches Writing