Meet The Author: Part 2

Meet The Author: Part 2 – Creating the Characters

Missed the 1st Meet The Author video? Watch it here.

Click to watch the Meet The Author: Part 2 Video below

Creating the Characters
  1. Who is this urban Romeo & Juliet?
  2. What deep personal issues do they have?
  3. How will these issues affect each other?

These are 3 questions I had immediately when developing my main characters. I needed to explore who these characters were individually before I explored how they would interact together.

It was important to me that my characters were relatable. If I couldn’t place myself in their shoes or have some sort of emotional attachment to them, how could I expect my readers to?

Leading female character
I knew that the easiest way for me to relate to my leading female character was to give her some elements of my own personality. I added in a few extra characteristics that I don’t believe I posses to show her level of maturity progress throughout the book. She is a seemingly naive, and gullible young lady but smart, family oriented, head strong, adventurous and defiant. She is on a quest for answers too deep for her sheltered and limited understanding, but it doesn’t stop her from searching for the truth.

Leading male character
My male was a bit of a task. I knew that I wanted my leading male character to have an insatiable attraction for Ruby– be her hero but, how could I make his character more interesting? What background could I give him to make him more believable? I decided to give him a story that many young men in our poorer urban communities can relate to. Limited working and education opportunities, low pay, a dream to leave their neighborhood, a struggle between living life on the straight and narrow or making unfortunate decisions to obtain freedom and happiness.

The development of his family’s history was something I focused on as well because I believe it’s in these early experiences where an individual is molded into who they become. When my male character experiences devastation and betrayal, I want the reader to be able to relate to his pain.

We know that in many relationships from the outside looking in, you see 2 people who seem to be in love. So they must be, right? Wrong. There are so many layers to a person, to love and to the constant threat of losing that love. It’s not as black and white as it seems.

Supporting Characters

My supporting characters, I decided, needed to have mini stories– a mini drama of their own so that the reader would either empathize with them or dislike them. I thought it would be very interesting to have these mini dramas interweave within the main story line so that there is constant suspense, mystery, twists, turns and unexpected revelations.

As I began to develop more of my supporting characters, I broke down their origins, their beginnings and ultimately their mini stories. While doing that I molded other smaller characters into their stories and embarked upon a domino effect of main and supporting character development.

Nothing was perfect and there was a ton of trial and error. My cast suffered from:

  1. Too much development.
  2. Not enough characters
  3. Too many characters
  4. Too gritty
  5. Too Naive
  6. Too cold
  7. Not cold enough
  8. Back stories needed more work

But once I worked it out, it really worked.

Next, it was time to develop my story and that took me a whole year…

Next: Meet The Author Part 3 – Meet the Characters

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