So while I’ve been writing these stories I’ve been asking my 4 year old daughters for feedback and they’ve been giving it to me in droves. However, one piece of feedback that’s been around since the beginning is that Charlotte, doesn’t like that Princess Charlotte has a sword. She wants Princess Charlotte to have a bubble wand, like Princess Evie. This is a fair criticism because her sword had no magical ability.
To smooth this over I thought I’d give Princess Charlotte a magic shield that could make her invisible. But, after reading the story to her, her first point of contention was, “I want Princess Charlotte to have a bubble wand like Princess Evie.” Fine. That’s not going to happen. Let’s try something else. In the next story I wrote, The Good Whale and the Mean Crocodile, Princess Charlotte got a magic ring that let her talk to animals. (Notice that Princess Evie got a magic pearl that made her grow so she wouldn’t be jealous.) When I was done reading the story I asked Charlotte the question, “Did you like your new magic ring that lets you talk to animals?” She replied, “Yes. But Princess Charlotte still doesn’t have a bubble wand.” Blast! I talked to her for about it and she continually said that she didn’t like her sword and shield. I guess ‘they’re for boys.’, ugh!
So, fine. I’ll give her some magic bubble action, but I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if it’s going to be a wand. So I wrote the story in which she got the bubble sword. This made her happy.
The reason I didn’t just give her a bubble wand is because I wanted the two princesses to be very different. It helps me, as a totally amateur writer, to easily formulate who’s going to do what in which story. But to a small child who can’t understand why her world of make-believe can’t be exactly the way that she wants it, I can imagine that being entirely frustrating! I made Princess Charlotte the stronger, more reckless and fearless of the two because when I watch my girls play in real life this is the feeling I get from Charlotte.
If my characters were named something else, for example Princess Evie was Princess June, and Princess Charlotte was Princess April, I think, 7 times out of 10, Charlotte would associate herself with Princess June; the girly girl, the princesses princess. But there is that other 3 times out of 10 I don’t want her to miss out on exploring her personality; The rebel, the leader, the independent spirit I see inside her.