During her last week of school, my niece’s class voted on their favorite characters in Sarah & Katy and the Imagination Blankets.
The runaway favorite was Ruddy, the slightly paranoid cardinal who is convinced everyone and everything wanted to eat him.
A flash of red caught Sarah’s eye among the branches of a magnolia tree. She left Dragon’s side to go investigate the tree. Behind the white and purple flowers of the tree was a cardinal. When he spotted her, he gave a startled peep and ducked behind another flower.
“Please come out,” Sarah said. “I won’t hurt you. Cardinals are my favorite bird.”
The bird peeked his orange beak around the flower’s petals. “Really? Are you sure?”
Sarah nodded fervently.
The cardinal hopped to the edge of the branch until he was face-to-face with Sarah. He turned his head to and fro nervously. “Do you promise not to eat me?”
Sarah made an X over her heart. “Cross my heart and hope to die.”
“You hope to die? That’s a silly thing to hope for. That’s the silliest thing — LOOK OUT HE’S GOING TO EAT YOU!”
The cardinal darted back into the branches as Dragon joined Sarah.
In the weeks I spent writing Ruddy’s character, I frequently laughed out loud over my keyboard. Each opportunity to make Ruddy shout “He’s going to eat me!” kept me in giggles.
It turns out the character I had the most fun writing is the one others had the most fun reading.
That’s a good sign for writers. If you really enjoy writing a character or chapter — if it brings your creative energy to life — chances are the reader will enjoy it, too.