Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Guest Post By Christine Fonseca

Writing Gifted Characters…Expanding Past the Stereotypes.

First, I want to thank Taffy for letting me hanging out on her blog today as she hosts a leg of my blog tour.

When we talked about possible ideas for today’s post, we decided to write something about writing smart characters. We’ve all seen them in some of our favorite books – characters that are just plain smart.

Hermione Granger in Harry Potter, “the smartest in her class”.

Anne of Green Gables is another great example.

Both of these characters are smart and somewhat intense in they way they interact with their world. Good examples of giftedness in literature.

But how is this created?

Too often, smart characters are created in stories and fall flat – being overly geeky, or stereotypical in their behavior.

But gifted kids represent more than the over-performing student, the geek, the math nerd, or the kid that always knows all the answers.

Sometimes, the gifted kid is an underachiever, or a drop out.

Sometimes they go to great lengths to hide their intellect from their friends.

More than anything, they are intense – both in terms of how they think about things, and in terms of their behaviors.

So, the next time to set out to write a character and discover that he/she is gifted…stay away from the stereotypes. Reach deeper and discover they ways in which that character is intense – how they interact with the world around them.

Look at the intensity of their emotional reactions to events in the story, how they interact with their friends, how they respond to stress. Focus on these aspects of their personality and you will move far past the common high-achieving stereotypes we often see in literature.

For more information on giftedness and the emotional side of these kids, check out my book – EMOTIONAL INTENSITY IN GIFTED STUDENTS. Written for parents and educators, this book delves into both the behavior that defines emotional intensity, and what to do about it.

Now it’s your turn…who are some of your favorite “smart” characters in novels? Have you written very many smart characters?

I’ll be by later today to answer any questions you may have.

Thanks again, Taffy, for letting my hang out!

 Christine is giving away a signed book as well as other cool swag! So comment here, comment on the other blogs on the tour and come back for my review of her book. Here is a link for Christine's tours:

Blog tour Schedule – Oct 1 through Oct 15, 2010

Please answer Christine's question and leave your email address to enter the giveaway! That's it. Good luck.

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Christine Fonseca said...

Thanks for having me Taffy!

Anonymous said...

Good point, Christine--gifted doesn't automatically mean book nerd with thick black glasses and pocket protectors, lol!

I did think of Hermione Granger first and foremost as a smart kid.

The MC from Ender's Game--he was gifted! (Love that entire series.)

Misha said...

Actually, I found Tom Marvolo Riddle to be an even better example of a gifted character in Harry Potter. He was scary smart before he became... well... You know who.

I love reading about gifted charaters that are well written. I also love reading about how they deal with being different.


Christine Fonseca said...

Misha - ABSOLUTELY, Tom Riddle is a great example!

Deborah Mersino said...

I just finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird and have to say Scout is a favorite. She's bold, deeply empathetic and wants to makes sense of the crazy happenings around her. She's also intense, which is why she seems so fitting as an example!

So happy for you Christine. Thank you Taffy for hosting her!!

I'd love to win a copy! ;-)

Chantele Sedgwick said...

What a great guest post. I agree with the Tom Riddle comment. Gifted and freakishly scary! :)

Janet Johnson said...

In "The Report Card" by Andrew Clements, the main character is a genius who chooses to hide her abilities so she can stay in her correct grade. I really enjoyed the book.

rjljohnson.janet (at) gmail (dot) com

Khanada said...

Please enter me in the giveaway! Moorehmj at Rochester dot rr dot com.

Krista said...

I would love to win a copy of this book!

Sunrise said...

This looks like a great book! Would love to win!

Laura said...

The world needs this book! My household needs this book!

The boy in My Side of the Mountain is gifted. And a brave boy.

I think he is both metaphorical for living as a gifted kid (isolated) and also literally a gifted kid (really alone).

salarsen„ÉÉ said...

Once again, Christine, I love the way you explore the topic of gifted children. You expose its broadness and I appreciate that. Capturing it in literature is sometimes difficult. But if we stop and listen to what's around us everyday--if you have kids or are around children at all--the answers are right there.

Thanks Taffy for having Christine. Nice blog, BTW.