Anyway, you probably saw the first 8,000 times we've mentioned it, but a bunch of the YA Highway girls went to SCBWI, and several of us very much enjoyed Carolyn Mackler's presentation on "Creating Characters That Come To Life." Her first suggestion: Figure out the details. What are your character's quirks? One way to dig deeper into that question is to ask another: What would s/he hide in his/her underwear drawer?
On the flight home, I made a list of all the major characters in both my books (parents included-- woot for existent parents in YA!). One by one, I dug through each of their dressers, and here's what I found:
- Aubrey: A pressed flower
- Griffin: One of his dad's guitar picks
- Bryan: Baseball cards he still secretly collects
- Paige: won't tell me. hussy. Or maybe she just has no secrets. It's possible.
- Jason: An arrowhead he knows he should give to a museum
- Hugh: A secret fiction MS
- Natalie: If I tell you, there's no reason for you to read the sequels... that only exist in my head right now anyway.
AFTER THE FALL
- Matt: Small collection of rocks
- Andrew: Weed
- Raychel: Andrew's pipe (funny-- this already existed in the story)
- Dr. Richardson: Ticket stubs from past concerts
- Mrs. Richardson: Her father's cuff links, to be given to the boys at their graduations
- Raychel's mom: The wedding ring she never pawned
Carolyn's second prompt was Who would your character call when s/he got good news? What would that good news be? I found Andrew would call Matt, but Matt would call Raychel. Ohhhh... Andrew resents her for taking his place as his brother's best friend, and that's why he pursues her, even when he knows it'll hurt his brother. It's so obvious... now that I've asked a seemingly completely unrelated question...
|Yes. This is really my room.|
But sometimes unimportant stuff turns out to be crucial.
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