Thursday 1 September 2016

Character Growth

Seeing characters grow

For me, one of the first things I think about when I'm developing a new novel is: what does my character care about? What makes him tick? What are his challenges, and where does he need to grow? Once I figure these things out, the story comes pretty quickly. I need to really care about a character's journey before I can invest in writing the novel or short story. I need to be curious about the character myself, and want to see him find happiness and love in life, or else the story will just fall flat.

With a character like Simon, he was trying so hard to be on top of things that he couldn't just let himself be him. He couldn't admit how much he loved Ian and he couldn't take any chances in life. I wanted to write Hot Off the Press to give Simon the chance to write the story that he believed in and to find the love of his life. Seeing those things play out gives me a lot of joy. Seeing a character really face his challenges and grow gives me those warm and tingly feelings that lets me know I'm on to something good.

Of course, you also need those characters who you love to hate, and that's why I love Margeaux Chamberlain so much. Not just because she reminds me of myself a little bit, but also because I totally get her jealousy, her cutthroat nature, her need to be the smartest person in the room. Even villains need to be rounded characters. Or at least, they need to be characters that are the heroes of their own stories, in their own minds. Once I have those pieces in place, I'm ready to write another Ridgemont University story.