I’ve Written A Children’s Book Now What? Part III

Character Mapping

Depending on where you are in the process of writing your book, character mapping will prove to be an invaluable step. 

I actually recommend you start character mapping even before you start writing. This is where you really get to know your characters, who they are, what motivates them, etc. Although sometimes your story just pours out and you do character mapping on the back end.  

The easiest way to do this is to start with a blank page and write down your first character. Now describe the character. 

  • What’s the character’s name? 
  • Where does the character live? 
  • How old is the character? 
  • Is the character male or female? 
  • What color eyes does the character have? 
  • What color hair does the character have and what style do they wear it? 
  • What nationality is the character? 
  • What is the characters height and weight? 
  • What type of clothes does the character wear? 
  • What are the character’s favorite colors? 
  • Does the character have an occupation? If so, what? 
  • Does the character have any quirks? Mannerisms? 
  • Is the character related to another character in the story? If so, how? 

This could go on, but I think you get the idea. You want to understand this character inside and out. Repeat this process for every character. 

Then continue this process and describe the locations where the story takes place. For instance, part of my story took place at the girl’s house. I created a list of what the house should look like: updated Victorian, claw foot bathtub, two stories, stairs, and so on. 

In some cases, I found pictures online to convey and attached them to the document.  

If you are not doing the illustrations yourself, this character mapping will help your illustrator visualize the story plus it really helps you build stronger characters. 

The second part of this leads to storyboarding. 

2 Responses to “I’ve Written A Children’s Book Now What? Part III

  • I had not thought of this process in terms of picture books (just novels!) — Thanks!

    • raerankin
      6 years ago

      It has really served a dual purpose for me. What I found as I neared the end of the project, I have been able to go back and check the illustrations and the story to be sure I have consistency. For instance, in my first book Cowgirl Lessons, the girls shirt says Cowgirls Rule! Somehow I had translated that to Cowgirl Rules! to the illustrator. I worked with J-san to correct it before publishing.
      Thanks for reading!