by Barbara D'Amato
The child in this picture is seven years old. His name is Adam. What in the world has he been doing?
It is often said that lead characters in books must grow. I’m not so sure. But they certainly need to present the reader with some kind of mystery. Like --who are they, really? Not quite what they seem? Is the character as bad as he is first painted or not? Much more complicated? Is that wonderful old gentleman next door really wonderful? Is the sweet motherly lady with the chocolate chip cookies really—rather different underneath? If a character need not grow exactly, he or she should at least unfold. And what will the character do in the challenging situation set up by the author? By the end of the book, a central character should be more than she was at the beginning, or less, or different.
What has this child been doing? What was he up to? The photo isn’t just a cute picture of a cute kid. It’s interesting because it raises questions. See the brightly satisfied eyes. Where’s he been?
Will some of you be brave enough to speculate? Go out on a limb and tell us what you think he’s been doing. After you do, I will tell you in “comments” what really was going on.
And for all you suspicious souls out there—yes, this was also a way to put up a really great picture I’ve always wanted to use one way or another.