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What would YOU do if you were a character in a fairy tale? A fun character-generating exercise for young writers from Josh Funk

A Guest Post by Josh Funk

What would YOU do if you were a character in a fairy tale?

That’s what I thought about as I wrote It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk. If I were Jack, I’d have a little more common sense than to sell my cow for a handful of beans, or climb an enormous beanstalk (how do you even climb a beanstalk?), or steal from a giant!

But how did I really get into character? By reading my writing out loud. By actually being the character. Along with some friends (er- my family), the cast was as follows:

 The Storyteller: Me

● Jack: My daughter

 The Giant: My son

● Cinderella: My wife

We would read this out loud for friends and at family gatherings. We’d see which parts got laughs and which parts didn’t connect. And sometimes we’d improvise – and really get into character. Later, I’d often add the best of those improvised lines back into the actual story.

So next time you’re trying to write from the perspective of a character – actually become that character. Read your story out loud to your friends. Maybe what you thought your character would do, doesn’t really jive when the story is put into action!

Also see Three Questions With Josh Funk (includes his advice for young writers).

Josh Funk writes silly stories and somehow tricks people into publishing them as books – such as Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast and its sequel The Case of the Stinky Stench along with It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk, Pirasaurs!, Dear Dragon, and the forthcoming Albie Newton, How to Code a Sandcastle (in partnership with Girls Who Code), Lost in the Library: A Story of Patience and Fortitude (in partnership with the New York Public Library), and more coming soon!

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