How to Invent a Character by Carol Nicolas
You may have wondered how you would go about inventing a main character for the book you want to write. To me, the most important part of a story is the characters. If I don’t like the main character, I’m not going to read the book, no matter how many awards the book has won or how well it is written.
So, first create a character that your readers will relate to, like, and admire from the very first page. For a young adult book, your main character needs to be a teenager. Sit down and write out exactly what they look like. They don’t have to be stunningly beautiful (which isn’t realistic), but it helps if she or he is at least a little good looking. Let’s say you’ve decided your main character is a girl named Sandy. Describe her. Perhaps she has shoulder length, soft, shiny, dark brown hair, green eyes, and a sensitive mouth. She’s five foot four, wears glasses, with a petite stature. She’s fourteen years old, just starting high school.
Now, what is Sandy like inside? What is she good at? What kind of grades does she get? What does she care about? What are her faults? To be a believable character, Sandy must have both good and bad qualities. Let’s say that Sandy loves music and plays the piano. She gets fairly good grades, and she loves the color red. She is also messy and unorganized. She broke her leg in kindergarten, so ever since then she has avoided sports.
Now Sandy needs a family, friends, and a town she lives in. Describe them all. Let’s say she has two fairly ordinary parents who love sports but are hopeless at music (tone deaf), an older sister who is a tremendous athlete and whose basketball team went to State, a kid brother(a baseball player) that she fights with all the time because he is obnoxious and is always getting into her stuff. She has a crush on freshman David Bell, who is very handsome but doesn't notice her. She has two friends from junior high, but they are more outgoing and flirtatious with boys than she is.
Now, what is the crisis that Sandy is going to go through so that she will grow? What problems, trials, challenges will she face? Let’s say that Sandy’s parents are pressuring her to try out for a sport in high school. This is their last big chance to be proud of their daughter. They don’t understand why she is constantly banging away at the piano. They don’t even understand that Sandy is talented. But Sandy has some solace: everyday she can go to her grandmother’s house, play piano, and get the acceptance that she craves. And then, one day, her grandmother dies... And a music-loving vampire moves in next door.
You’ll start writing your story, and suddenly Sandy will take over and start doing things you never predicted. It will be the most amazing thing that has ever happened to you. Soon you won’t be able to tear yourself away from the keyboard. The story will unfold before your eyes, and you will care deeply about her. Okay, are you ready? Now go out there and start writing!
Tania Westing, a high school senior, is one of the Gifted Ones, descendants of an ancient family with seven special powers. Some of the powers are common, and some are rare.
Until her geneticist brother Tom was murdered, Tania lived an ordinary life. Now hidden in her mind is a clue that will reveal Tom's research, including secret formulas to unlock all seven powers. During spring break, Tania meets and falls in love with handsome Dan Maclean. When Tania reveals her rare power to heal, the evil Gifted Ones who killed Tom suspect Tania has his research and formulas and come after her. Tania must learn to use her powers to help save Dan's sister in time to keep Tom's secrets safe.
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Carol Nicolas lives in northern Utah (USA) with her husband. A native of Canada, she attended BYU-Idaho (formerly RicksCollege) and obtained a bachelor's degree in education from BrighamYoungUniversity (Provo, UtahUSA). A teacher, mother of five, wearer of silly socks, and fan of sci-fi/fantasy books and films, she enjoys growing herbs and vegetables, painting, and researching her family history. She likes rock, pop, Celtic and classical music. She has traveled throughout Europe; her favorite city there is Paris, though the romance of Venice is a close second. She speaks American English (with a Canadian accent after she has been talking with her Canadian family on the telephone for just a few minutes), as well a basic modern Greek, which she studied for 4 years to be able to communicate with her husband's family on their bi-annual trips to Greece. Her deepest secret: she hides chocolate in her desk for emergencies!
You can visit Carol's blog site at http://carolnicolas.wordpress.com
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