World Book Day…

…a chance for The Porglets to dress up as their favourite characters for school. Or, to be more precise, a chance for The Porglets to dress up as something Mummy can find an outifit for, favourite character or not!

Porglet Minimus loves The Little Miss books and picked Little Miss Neat. Not because she’s particularly neat, but because she gets to wear fake glasses for the day, and Porglet Minimus loves wearing glasses. She completed her ensemble with a green school dress and a pink bucket hat. She looked cute, if nothing at all like a Little Miss!

Porglet Maximus went to school in a grey tracksuit onesie and sunglasses; her effort at “Jane Blonde, super spylet”. I think she’d have preferred a skin-tight silver lycra bodysuit, but tough! She was happy with her silver “fleet feet” trainers at least.

I’ve been taking part in the school’s World Book Day/Literacy Week activities too. Monday saw me reading stories to Porglet Minimus and a couple of her friends. Today saw we me reading one story to Porglet Maximus and a never-ending array of her classmates. The same story, neatly timed to last exactly five minutes, over a dozen times…I’m now home with a cup of tea and no voice.

It got me thinking, though, about what character I would have dressed up as, given the option. I did wear my Garfield t-shirt, just to show willing, but who else could I be?

I’m not tall or regal enough to pull off Granny Weatherwax, nor familiar enough to pull off Nanny Ogg, nor dippy enough to pull of Magrat. I don’t fancy a Poirot moustache or Miss Marple shawl. And any other books from my shelves? They’re all about normal people; who can tell which character is which?

As a writer, how do I portray my own characters? Well, I leave it up to the reader as far as possible, I must admit. Unless it’s important in terms of plot or characterisation, I leave the characters’ vitals to the reader. And it appears to work rather well.

A good friend of mine on Authonomy fell seriously in heat with Dr Alex Stevens from my Hospital Corners, even though a minimal description is provided. She filled in the blanks for herself and arrived at a hunk. If I’d told her what colour his hair or eyes were, some of that magic could easily have been lost. Likewise, all the reader will ever learn about Angela in Agoraphobics Anonymous is that she starts the book with waist length hair (difficult to get a haircut when you’ve shut yourself away for five years).

I probably don’t make it easy for those who want to dress up as my characters, but I hope I make it easy for my readers to dress up my characters for themselves.

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