YA Author Hayley Jackson presented a dynamic workshop on how she develops her YA kick arse characters during our Write Links meeting on the 2nd of June.
She emphasised the importance of a strong voice and giving her characters lots of layers, like an onion. She particularly stressed that it’s worth developing the characters back story as this can affect their responses and dialog, and that it is important to include characters that contrast each other.
Here is a brief description of the character archetypes. Some characters may overlap one or two archetypes as we discovered when we looked at a few popular characters. There is more to Grandma Poss than you first think!
Gives us a window into the story
Someone we can identify with
Is the character that changes the most
Has a strong will and desire that drives the story
Challenges the hero
Is the spark that sets of war
Is the call to adventure at the end of Act 1. Could even be a phone call, newspaper article or a storm
Teaches and trains the hero
Is who the hero wants to become
Hero has to prove they are worthy to their Mentor
Is or presents obstacles on the road to adventure
Provides puzzles or tests
When overcome/won over becomes the ally and or a source of strength
Whose side are they on?
Unstable/ misleads the hero
Their loyalty is always in question
Often does not think of themselves as the villain
There to humanise the hero
Asks questions that you want answered
Comic relief and bring heroes and readers down to earth
Catalyst - affects others but doesn't change themselves
So how does Hayley build her Kick Arse characters?
She dreams about them, thinks about them all the time. She makes a time and place to specifically focus on them such as the shower. She will make up a playlist for them, decide on their favourite drink, food and more!
She gives them an authentic voice by filling out a character bio which includes;
Hayley’s presentation included the established archetypes and an insight to her personal experience of creating characters. Through working through the activity sheet and sharing our thoughts we were able to learn the process of unpacking a character and met a new character Jocelyn created which I can’t wait to read more about.