Tag Archives: Wright brothers

What a Character!

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Creating characters can be lots of fun, but it can be challenging, too. For my new book, The Wright Brothers Flying School, 1910, I’m trying to invent characters who act like your best friend, but who fit in the time period I’m writing about.

My first character is Mabel Cecelia Grant, “Macie” for short. To get started, I looked for pictures online of girls who would have been around fourteen years old in 1910. This picture jumped out at me, and I knew I’d found Macie.

Next, I made a list of everything I already knew about Macie and wrote them down on a chart. A more fun way to do this might be to make your own facebook page for your character. Click on the link below. You’ll go to a page that says ‘facebook profile.’ Click on the words again and you’ll arrive at a profile you can print out and use for your character.

Facebook profile

I really like the names J.K. Rowling picks for her characters.  “Rubeus Hagrid” is a terrific name, and you have a picture in your mind of what he looks like even before you see him. Doesn’t Draco Malfoy sound mean and sinister? And Neville Longbottom calls to mind a rather dull boy with no athletic skills at all. How does J.K. Rowling do it?

I found the link below to help me find popular names for the time period I’m writing about. Remember, my new book is set in 1910, so this list is from that era. Is your name on the list?

http://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/decades/names1910s.html

Scroll through the page and find three first and last names you think would make good characters. I need a name for a bully (girl or boy), a name for a hero (girl or boy), and a name for a villain (man or woman). Fill in the Facebook profile for your character, and send it to me! I’d love to see what you come up with! Maybe YOUR character will appear in my book!

For students and teachers who want additional information about developing story characters, try the link I included below. You’ll find some great ideas and worksheets to help you create the perfect character for your story!

http://www.capstonekids.com/contests/sikids/pdf/lesson_plans.pdf

A final thought for this week!

What are YOU reading?

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Flying with the Wright Brothers!

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Great News for “Crystal City Lights”!

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A gold medal in historical fiction was awarded to “Crystal City Lights” by the Mom’s Choice Awards! This award “is globally recognized for establishing the benchmark of excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. The organization is based in the United States and has reviewed thousands of entries from more than 18 countries.” Click on the link below to find out more about this terrific award!

http://www.momschoiceawards.com/celebrate/jv2/

My new book is called “The Wright Brothers Flying School”. Since I come from a family of pilots and hot air balloonists, it’s only natural for me to be fascinated by airplanes and how they were invented. I researched the Wright Brothers lives–their inventions and accomplishments–and I discovered that during the spring of 1910, they opened a flying school in Montgomery, Alabama.

From March through May of that year, the Wright Brothers ran a the school to teach men (no girls allowed!) how to fly the Wright Brothers Model B aircraft. Here are some pictures that were taken at the school.

  

The catapult pictured above was used to launch the airplane. Watch a video by clicking here:

http://archive.org/details/WrightBrothersFirstFlight

Once I found out about the flying school, I knew I wanted to use it as the setting for my new book. But I don’t know anything about what life was like way back then. Since I write historical fiction, I have to do lots of research even before I begin the first chapter! Here are some questions I want to answer:

  • What did adults wear in 1910? What kind of clothes did children wear?
  • What did the houses look like in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1910?
  • What ‘modern conveniences’ did they have? Did they have telephones? electricity? washing machines? radios?
  • Did everyone own cars or did they still travel by horse and buggy?
  • How did they talk? Did they use ‘slang’, like we do today?

The list of things I want to know goes on and on. It’s important for me to add lots of details because I want my readers to feel as if they’ve stepped back in time to the early 1900’s and that they’re actually going to meet the Wright Brothers!

For example, here are some popular words and phrases people would have used in 1910. Can you imagine Wilbur Wright saying, “Aw shucks…” when reporters praised his newest invention? Or maybe Orville yelled, “Never say die!” when the Wright Flyer lifted off the ground! When you read my book, you’ll notice the characters saying some of these things just like real people would have in 1910:

  • Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!
  • This is the life!
  • It seems like I have two left feet!
  • Ain’t it the truth?
  • Another day, another dollar!

Follow the link below to one of my favorite sites. It’s called Writers Dreamtools. See what interesting facts you can find about the year 1910.

http://www.writersdreamtools.com/view/decades/default.asp?Decade=1910

Now, talk like it’s 1910!       

Scroll down on the ‘Dreamtools’ webpage until you see ‘New Slang Words’. Choose a few of the phrases you think are especially interesting or funny, and write sentences with them. Post your best one in the comment box below!

This year, you can follow my blog as I discover more about my setting, my characters, my plot, and all the important parts of this brand new story. I’m looking forward to hearing your ideas as “The Wright  Brothers Flying School” comes to life!

As Wilbur and Orville might have said, “Let’s get this show on the road!”