So many people enjoy, and can relate to, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No good, Very Bad Day. It is an interesting story because just when we think things can’t get any worse for him, something bad happens.
Unlike Alexander, most of my picture book characters get off easily. My middle grade character, on the other hand, gets put through the ringer. In her first book, she gets teased for being like a boy, kicked out of the Blossoms troop, grounded, alienated by her best friend, and sentenced to an evening at cheerleading practice. These may not seem like life or death stakes, but to her, it is torture. And I think it makes for an interesting story.
Most stories have a character that is dynamic, or changing and growing from the beginning of the story to the end. Just like real people, it is often the challenges the characters face that facilitate that growth. So, my week of Mister’s teething, a dead fish, and a stomach bug might not have been fun to go through, but will help me grow. That’s how I’ll try to think about it anyway.