Episode 2 Character development

Summary of TellTales2kids Podcast

A podcast for anyone interested in learning how to tell stories for children to enjoy.

Episode 2: Developing Characters

  • It’s important to think how to develop believable characters, suitable for the child’s age and experience.
  • Bear in mind that young children can believe in fairies, talking toys and so on and can learn a lot about life from their behaviour so care is needed as well as fun.
  • Children are delighted if they are the main characters in a book and can do things they can’t in real life.
  • They need to know it is ok to be ‘naughty’ though not bad, hurtful etc, but just ‘naughty fun.
  • The simplest ideas are often the best, especially for younger children, shoes that are magic and help you to dance way up in the air, or racing cars against comic/cartoon characters. They know it’s not real but you are stretching their imagination.
  • You’ll need other characters, including sometimes, a grown up or older child to help solve a problem in the story.  You, or someone else they know and trust, can be included to do this role.
  • Their friends (make sure you get the names right), their pets or their neighbours or relatives can also be included. Make sure they are there for a reason though. Or, you can use their characteristics for someone else.
  • If you have a theme for your style of stories, nature, history, trips out, magic (like me) railways, sports and so on then make sure the children have a basic understanding of the topic – not wildly beyond their experience to begin with. More about this in the next episode on Developing Situations.

So, why not take the plunge? Get yourself a notebook plus a pen or pencil, whichever suits you best, and the extras such as rubber, ruler and have a play around. Note ideas and think of something to interest and/or amuse them.

Consider what the child/children is like so you can gauge the stories to suit them.

Look at the stories they already like & try and work out why.

OR, just go right ahead and tell a little story to them off the top of your head. Enjoy!

It’s Story Time with my 3 characters of Thomas, Fini and Nana again. This story shows you a little bit more of what they’re like (Thomas – mischief; Fini – fun but helpful; Nana – using her magic a bit more). These first stories are all about magic but will change as we go ahead, in other episodes.

The Ladder, the Vase and the Hat:

Nana was out for a walk in the woods with Thomas and Finnja. It was a cold, icy and windy day and suddenly Nana’s hat was blown off her head and flew up into the air.

Thomas and Fini started running after it but it flew higher and higher and then got stuck on a rock ledge high up above them.  Thomas noticed a tree branch which was V shaped lying on the ground, with some strong branches sticking out across it. He asked Fini to help him stick it into the ground.

 As if by magic, it turned into a ladder and Thomas began to climb up it whilst Finnja held the ladder steady, just to make sure it was safe. Thomas began to reach for the hat but it was just inside a little cave and it seemed to be stuck.

“Why is it stuck?” he wondered. Well, as he lifted it, he realised that it had blown right over a little shiny vase on the ledge and was covering it up.

What a surprise!  It would be a nice present for Nana, he thought. He passed the vase down the ladder, still inside the hat, for Fini to look after.  When he got down and went to look at it he realised it was made of ice and was starting to melt.

Nana looked at it and she loved it, so she used her magic to turn it into a real glass vase until they got home then she popped it straight into the freezer. Of course, it turned straight back into ice, a lovely shiny ice vase! Then Fini had a great idea; she filled it with chocolate and strawberry ice-cream and they all sat down and ate it for their tea. (296 words)

Note for just now (Nov 2nd) pictures to follow

 Note: “Of course, it turned back into ice”   There is no “of course” about this, no logic… it is magic’!  So, for the story to work it depends on your belief in it, if you believe it then why shouldn’t the children? If you are stuck, ask them what they think might have happened next.  You can use their idea “Thank you, you’re right”-or- you can say “Good idea! But what actually happened was …!”  If you have to do that at least you have given yourself breathing space in which to work the next bit out.

I hope you enjoyed that. I’ll be back mid-November, check on here or with your podcast provider. Thank you! Bye for now.

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