Meet The Author: Part 2 – Creating the Characters
Missed the 1st Meet The Author video? Watch it here.
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Creating the Characters
- Who is this urban Romeo & Juliet?
- What deep personal issues do they have?
- 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.
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:
- Too much development.
- Not enough characters
- Too many characters
- Too gritty
- Too Naive
- Too cold
- Not cold enough
- 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