We discussed how, essentially, there are three kinds of characters in a book - the main character or protagonist; the supporting characters and finally the villain or antagonist.
An enjoyable discussion ensued on the various characters we have encountered in books - Geronimo is a great favourite. "What makes you like Geronimo?" I asked. "He thinks like me", "He feels fear", "He has fun" were the responses. We listed a bunch of features that make a character memorable. Some felt wildly improbable characters were great while others loved characters with flaws.
I listed out different characters and discussed what kind of character each one was. It was hard identifying the antagonist in some novels - "Cool", "The Secret Garden". The kids realised that sometimes nature or circumstances can be the antagonist.
Then the kids got to work - to brainstorm details about their main character - her height, appearance, likes and dislikes. Some children sketched out their main character. Suddenly, the characters felt more real.
Some kids wrestled with describing their character- it didn't fit the norm. A bacteria is one child's protagonist while another has a girl who discovers she's an alien adopted by earthlings.
Kids came forward and shared their character portraits. Since "Dont YUCK my YUM" is the motto, kids were respectful and supportive of each other's efforts.
Another group caughtup on their novel discussions with each other.
So it all starts today. I'm sure it will be a busy weekend ahead with kids scrambling to start up their "Nano-novels".