Firemen and Policemen

Hi Readers,

I need your help for my story.

Q: Why do little boys want to be policemen and firemen? Is it the shiny red truck, the police car with lights, the idea of being a hero.

If you would like to know why I am asking this question read below.

Last week I received feedback on my Picture Book from my critique group. Two important comments I received had to do with the motivation of the main character and to understand the world that Jay lives in.

  • Why did Jay, the main character, want to be a Patrol Bird?
  • Why was Jay, excited about being a Fire Bird at the end of the story?
  • Why are Bill and Jay friends.
  • Do the birds interact with other animals or humans.

After this critique I happened to be reading “Conversations with J.K. Rowling”. The one thing that struck me was that she apparently wrote pages and pages on the main characters of her story, not just the trio of kids but the teachers too. This explains why the characters are so believable. Then, I also remembered how Stephenie Meyer started writing Midnight Sun as a writing exercise to get inside Edward Cullen’s thoughts. (If you are a Twilight fan like me, read the Midnight Sun draft. It is a really great read.)

The main point of all this is that I realized I needed to dream and create more of Jay’s world in my head. It isn’t enough to just know 10 or 20%. I need to know more like 80%. Hence I will be able to understand Jay’s motivations better and drop details here and there. In the end the story will be richer .. I hope.

On that note, I need to have a better sense of why Jay wants to be a Patrol Bird. I thought just wanting to fly fast and catch speeding cars was good enough, but my group didn’t think so, especially since it didn’t tie into the end where Jay becomes a Fire Bird.

So here is my question to you, since I have no little boys.

Why do little boys want to be policemen and firemen? Is it the shiny red truck, the police car with lights, the idea of being a hero.

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3 Comments to “Firemen and Policemen”

  1. I asked my 4 yo son and he said he wants to be a policeman because “they put bad guys in jail”. He wants to be a fireman to be “like daddy” (hubby is a firefighter). When I asked him why he wants to be a fireman like daddy he said “because they shoot out fires and they are awesome”.

  2. I think it’s a little of all three 🙂 (what little boy doesn’t love shiny trucks and flashing lights? :)) but the one that comes closest to carrying the timelessness so important to picture books, the one that all children, regardless of their gender or dreams, can relate to, is being a super-hero. It may not be exactly that, though. What it may really be is something like believing in yourself or pursuing your passion/dream or wanting to feel important (because kids don’t have a lot of control in the world) – something along those lines. It’s hard to say without a little more to go on. I apologize if you’ve given more info elsewhere and I just didn’t see it. Good luck with your story!

  3. Thanks Susanna. I think the angle I am going for is feeling important. This is the only post related to the pb I am working on, so no you didn’t miss anything.

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