Why I Write My Characters the Way I Do

You know what I get told all the time? “Your characters are so non-tropey; they are such a breath of fresh air!”

Okay, fine. I’ve never been told that, I just needed a catchy opening for this post. Bear with me, this is going to be very stream of consciousness, because it’s almost eleven o’clock at night and this is due tomorrow.

Yep. Yay for planning ahead.

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Basically this is just going to be a list of what I personally think makes my characters unique in YA Fiction.

First off, in Night Night, my Main Character, Erin Frost, is an established adult. So is her brother Jason. So is the supporting character Ace Steel. You don’t generally see adults as the main characters in YA books. And I get it. You’re writing a book aimed for teenagers; you want to make your characters teenagers. Still though, you avoid a lot of teenage angst and drama by having adult characters. You don’t have to have teenage characters for teenagers to like your books. I mean, look at The Avengers. They’re all adults, and people of all ages love the movies and comics.

How much petty drama do they have that’s not related to saving the world from some post-apocalyptic event? Next to none.

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What? I like that movie. Don’t tell me you don’t look for chances to quote this scene. What do mean you don’t? I don’t believe you.

All right, moving on.

In Night Night, my Main Characters are siblings. And guess what? They get along. Like, actually get along. Nobody is secretly a traitor. They don’t get viciously ripped apart by events. They stay together and they behave like siblings. They work together as a team. That’s something YA is missing, siblings working as a team toward the same cause. Not to mention sibling relationships are really fun to write. They can go from, “Breathe in my direction, and I will kill you in your sleep,” to, “If anyone breathes in my sibling’s direction, I will kill them in their sleep.” See? Lot’s of fun!

The next thing I like to think is unique about the Main Characters in Night Night, is their unwillingness to resort to violence. I was proud of this aspect, because throughout the whole thing, though each of my characters carried at least one gun and those guns were drawn in several scenes, very few shots were actually fired.

Yes, my protagonists as well as antagonists are threatened with guns to their heads, but again very few shots ever get fired. Their aversion to violence is a little bit like The Doctor. He uses violence as a last resort. (Most of the time, he has his violent moments, but it’s usually when he doesn’t think he has any other choice.)

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Lastly, a pet peeve of mine about YA fiction, MY FEMALE LEAD DOESN’T START OUT AS AN EPIC CHARACTER, AND THEN LOSE THAT EPICNESS AS SHE FALLS HEAD OVER HEELS FOR SOME BOY WHO ISN’T A VERY GOOD PERSON BUT HE HAS NICE EYES SO THE FACT THAT HE’S KIND OF A JERK DOESN’T MATTER! (Yes, Divergent, I’m looking at you. And Hunger Games, I’m looking at you less, because Peeta actually is kind of a nice guy. And Maze Runner, all your female characters are pretty bad whether they’re in love with a jerk or not, so I’m giving you a death glare.)

I’m sorry, I’ll calm down now. Anyway, my female lead doesn’t have a man. (Or does she? You should read Night Night and find out!) Whether she has a man or not is not the point, the point is that she doesn’t change for anybody. There’s plenty of chances for her to change who she is and change the path she chose, but she stands firm.

All right, that’s it for this one y’all. I’d love to hear some of your least favorite YA Fiction tropes, so drop ’em in the comments below! I like talking to people!

Want to find out more about these epic, non-cliche characters I was talking about? Check out Night Night on Amazon! If you do read it, please, please, please, take a few minutes and leave me a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads!

I hope I haven’t annoyed y’all too much.  If I have, I’m sorry. It’s after midnight. I’m tired. Goodbye.

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