My 4 1/2 year old niece - we call her Little T - recently reminded me of an important writing lesson.
While at her pre-school, she wanted me to pick out which crayoned self-portrait hanging on the wall was hers. So, like a good aunt, I studied the information on each page and focused on all the girls who had this on their paper:
My hair is: BLACK
My eyes are: BROWN
It still took me three tries to guess the right one. But when I did, I couldn't help but smile at the rest of what was written there:
My favorite color is: PINK
My favorite activity is: WRESTLING
It's those unexpected and unique aspects that we need to develop in our characters and also, hopefully, in ourselves.
So, whenever I'm concerned that my characters - or I! - might be flat or boring, I'll think back to my niece - perky pigtails, sparkly t-shirt, cute little face scrunched up in a one-eyed squint and a sneer full of baby teeth that would make even the meanest pirate shudder.
Little T is already a character in her own right.