Round Characters by Stacy Couch

Still gearing up for NaNoWriMo? Hope so because we only have FOUR MORE DAYS until it begins!! (Panic. Sheer panic.) I’m nowhere near ready to start. I still have tons of plotting and characterizations to do. After all …


So it’s a good thing we have a guest post today on that very topic!


Round Characters by Stacy Couch

We’ve all fallen in love with kidlit characters. Eloise. Olivia. Katniss. Harry Potter. But how do you create a character people will love?   Simply put, you have to fall in love first. You have to know your character, like you know your kids, husband, wife, and parents, how you just know what they will say or do in any given situation. And how they are flawed.

Developing Character: ARF

Author Tammi Sauer suggests the ARF formula of character development: Active, Relatable, Flawed.

  1. Active—The main character (MC) acts, makes decisions, solves problems.
  2. Relatable—The MC is likable and familiar, and says or does something real kids do.
  3. Flawed—The MC does something wrong too, which makes him/her only human–and so much more relatable than a perfect child.

Olivia, Ian Falconer’s Precocious Little Pig


Amazon’s review of Falconer’s famous pig says, “Preschoolers (and their parents) will see themselves in Olivia—a typical high-energy, over-the-top kid who likes the beach and Degas paintings, but hates naps.”

How did Falconer make her relatable? Through her actions: familiar, likable and flawed.

  • She sings 40 very loud songs
  • She scares the living daylights out of her little brother
  • She paints like Jackson Pollock—on the walls at home
  • She wears people out

Hmm. Gotta love that.

When you think of your character, what makes you fall in love?

Olivia 2

Character Links:

Tammi Sauer talks ARF on LGBPodcast

Nathan Bransford on What Do Your Characters Want?

Pam Calvert on Character-Driven Picture Books:

Author Bio

Stacy Couch writes quirky picture books and hosts a critique group in Delaware. She is also going to marry Jon Scieszka. He just doesn’t know it yet. You can find Stacy procrastinating on Twitter: @couchmine.


Thanks, Stacy, for contributing!

If you’d like to submit a post to As The Eraser Burns, check out our guidelines! We love having company. And for those of you who are girding your loins for NaNoWriMo, GOOD LUCK!! 🙂

About Laura Bowers

Laura is a writer, runner, reader, runDisney addict, blogger/vlogger at Write, Run, Rejoice and Joyful Miles, mom of two awesome boys, wife of one fantastic husband, excellent chili maker, and obsessive list keeper. She loves run-on sentences and adverbs. She also still thinks Spice World was an awesome movie and feels no shame about that.
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3 Responses to Round Characters by Stacy Couch

  1. Pingback: Three Dimensional Characters | Whimsical Words

  2. Stacy Couch says:

    Thanks so much for the shout out, Vonnie. Congrats on The Enchanted Skean!

  3. Pingback: Show vs. Tell: The Picture Book Version | As the Eraser Burns

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