Thanks for stopping by today! I'm excited to be hosting Emmy Laybourne today as part of the Monument 14 blog tour! She's stopped by today to talk about one of my favorite things about a good book--characters! Emmy's debut has a pretty good size cast, so I asked her to talk a little about how she went about developing them all. Read on to find out more about her characters and Monument 14. :)
On Crafting Good Side Characters
My debut novel Monument 14 has a bunch of characters in it - fourteen kids and a couple of adults thrown in, too! I really needed to be sure that the characters stood out from each other, so the reader would know who was who. But in terms of my writing process, I didn't want to draw up some kind of chart and try to set them all apart from each other in some phony kind of way. Instead I worked in a number of ways to really bring the characters to life.
One technique I used was to look to specific people from my life when envisioning characters. Niko, for example, is absolutely based on the son of a friend of mine. He's this very serious boy with big brown eyes and straight brown hair. He's thin and quiet and moves like he's a part of the f. There is nothing about the kid that is wild or impulsive - even his hair is completely straight.
Chloe, one of the most loud and funny characters in the book, is also based on a kid I know. It helped me, when I was writing her, because I could just focus on this other little kid (actually a boy) and try to imagine what he would say.
There are some characters you need to create, like the ones I just mentioned - others seem to be waiting, right in your imagination. Max was one of those characters. He was just hanging around in my mind, waiting to "get borned," as he might say. To tell you the truth, Max is a character that could kind of take over. In fact, I think I could write a side-novel to Monument 14, written entirely in his voice. It would be one hell of a story. Max has had a more interesting life than most of us, I think!
Another tool I used when creating the characters in Monument 14 were my acting skills. Working on films like Superstar and Nancy Drew, I really had to go deep into character work. I would work on characters for a long time - I would focus on how they walk and talk. I'd do housework in character and go shopping for clothes in character (and boy, did I ever come home with some horrible outfits!) I did the same type of work with my literary characters. Sometimes when I was writing I would speak the dialogue out loud. I'd imagine myself to be Sahalia and bam - something snarky and sarcastic would pop out of my mouth. Or I'd take on Jake's slow drawl to see what he had to say about a development in a scene.
I'll tell you, writing Monument 14 was hard for me, at times, because I came to really love my characters. They came to be real, living and breathing people in my imagination. I hated putting them in so much danger. And man, then I had to write the sequel! Talk about turmoil and despair!
Please read Monument 14 and let me know what you think of the characters! You can leave a message for me here or write to me at emmylaybourne.com. Thanks and safe reading!
Find out more about Monument 14, Emmy, and the Fierce Read tour!
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/MfeyjuEMaOI
Author website: http://emmylaybourne.com/
Short Story Prequel: http://www.tor.com/stories/2012/05/dress-your-marines-in-white
Fierce Reads Tour Info: https://www.facebook.com/FierceReads/events
Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.
In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.
Macmillan has been kind enough to provide a copy of Monument 14 for giveaway to one lucky reader! Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter for your chance. US/Canada addresses only, please.