Those who have been following my blog for a few months probably remember the Beautiful People linkups I participated in a few times last year. For those unfamiliar with it, Beautiful People is a linkup hosted by Paper Fury and Further Up & Further In, and each month, they would share a list of questions for writers to answer about their characters. For us writers, it was a great way to get to know our characters a little better, and it was always fun to visit other people’s blogs and learn about their writing projects as well.
Sadly, this month marks the end of Beautiful People (for the time being). Although I started participating a little later than most, I had a wonderful time being a part of this, and I would be remiss if I didn’t participate in this last linkup.
Typically, I would share these types of posts on Wednesdays, since they’re not really a “normal” Monday post. Since this is a “Favorites Edition” of Beautiful People though, I thought it would be fun to share some favorite things from my various writing projects, as well as a few of my favorites when it comes to writing overall.
1) Favorite genre to write in?
I do like to experiment with different genres, but when it comes to what I “fall back” on, I tend to write a lot in the contemporary and fantasy/adventure genres. I also have a soft spot for historical fiction and mystery, but I don’t write those as much. Maybe someday…
2) What book (a real actual published book!) do you think your characters would benefit from reading?
- Riley Taylor: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
- Leslie Summers: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
- Trevor Johnson: Lovely Things In Ugly Places by Mattie Montgomery
- Myrina Stamos: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
- Adrien Bryton: Savvy by Ingrid Law
3) Favorite piece of dialogue you’ve written?
Perhaps not my all-time favorite, but it’s definitely up there:
We ran into each other in CVS, of all places.
You would think, going to the same community college and all, we’d run into each other more often. Which we did, but it was mostly a quick “hey” before hurrying off to the next class. The two of us had very busy schedules. It was weird, actually, not seeing Riley as much as I used to. We stayed in contact, but we hadn’t hung out since before graduation. I missed it. Sometimes.
He was looking at iced tea. “Personally, I prefer Arizona, but Gold Peak is good too,” I said as I walked over.
Riley jumped and whirled around. “Geez Leslie, why d’you have to be so quiet?” He exclaimed.
“I like watching you squirm.”
4) What did your characters want to be when they grew up, and what did they actually become?
Riley: Wanted to be a musician, and he still is, really, but right now he’s just giving music lessons.
Leslie: Wanted to be a pro hockey player, ended up being an athletic trainer.
Myrina: Wanted to be a soldier and ended up becoming a Captain in the Lamorian army.
Adrien: Didn’t have much of a choice, being royalty and all. If he had options, he would’ve wanted to be a scholar/researcher/writer.
5) Favorite character names?
I’ve always been particularly attached to the names for Casadee “Cass” Young and Eden Hunter (shoutout to RPW, if you’re out there). I’m also proud of Chey Lacey Cooper, who’s named after two of my favorite female musicians. I also like the names Justine, Leigh, Miles, and Josiah, but I haven’t had the chance to use them yet.
6) What makes your characters feel loved, and who was the last person to make them feel that way?
Leslie feels loved when people spend time with her, especially her friends.
Riley feels loved when he hears people say nice things to him, and the last person who did this for him was probably his father.
For Myrina, she feels loved when she’s respected. The last person who made her feel this way was likely her sister, Ada.
Adrien feels loved when he knows he’s appreciated despite his shortcomings. His mother often makes him feel this way.
7) Favorite character you’ve ever written?
I’m torn, because I love all of my characters. (is this like when you ask parents who their favorite child is?) However, I really like Riley’s character, since he’s one of the most complex characters I’ve ever created. I think this might be partly because I’ve been working on him for a long time, but unlike some of my other childhood characters (except Leslie and Chey), he didn’t get left by the wayside. Of course, if I had to pick a second place, it would probably be Leslie or Myrina.
8) If your characters were permanently leaving town, what would they easily throw out? What would they refuse to part with? (Why?)
For Riley, he’d easily get rid of papers. Old schoolwork? Gone. Birthday cards? Gone. He’s not a very sentimental guy. It’d definitely be hard for him to leave behind any of his guitars though – they’re like his children.
Leslie would refuse to part with any of her hockey memorabilia (tickets, souvenirs, etc.), since they remind her of good memories. She’d have a pretty easy time throwing out clothes though, seeing as she prefers t-shirts and jeans anyway.
It would be hard for Chey to part with her posters, since a lot of them are of musicians who inspire her. She’d have an easier time throwing out some of her old makeup (since she has so much of it).
9) Favorite tropes to write!
I really love writing characters who break conventions for their gender. For example, Myrina is a knight, Adrien is rather meek and bookish, Riley loves cooking, Leslie plays hockey… etc. Of course, that doesn’t mean “conventional” characters are bad, I’ve just always found myself being drawn to the unconventional ones.
10) Which story has your heart and won’t let go?
Summertime. I CAN’T GET RID OF IT. I’ve been working on this “world” ever since I was in high school (which was a few years ago, which is a scary thought), and having the chance to develop it has been really fun. That’s partly why I’m rewriting this specific story for Camp NaNoWriMo this month – I want to figure out how to tell the story in the best way possible.
Of course, I’m also in love with Quest, which is just such an expansive universe with so many opportunities, it’s like playing in a gigantic sandbox (well, with rules, but I make the rules, so…)
11) Favorite relationship between characters you’ve written?
If you were asking yourself, “Man, when’s she going to stop talking about Summertime?” here’s your answer: Not on this question.
The relationship between Riley and Leslie has always been one of my favorites to write, since they go from hating each other to being friends, to… well, spoilers. I’ve loved developing that relationship over time, and the dialogue between them is also a favorite of mine.
As a side note, I do also like the protector/protectee relationship between Myrina and Adrien in Quest. I’ve been fascinated with “brave knight saves royalty” stories for a while (I blame The Legend of Zelda), and it’s fun to reverse that trope with Myrina protecting Adrien. Plus, it’s a platonic relationship between a make and female character, which is a bit of a rarity these days.
12) Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” What are the books that you want to see more of, and what “holes” do you think need filling in the literary world?
Realistically written brother/sister relationships would be nice, mostly just because I’ve always seen that done wrong or not well enough.
Also, stories where homeschooled/cyberschool characters aren’t treated like some kind of freak of nature. They’re almost always socially awkward, super intellectual types, which is… not good. I like to think I have some social skills, thank you. Just treat it like it’s no big deal, good or bad, okay? It’s not even that uncommon in real life anymore.
13) Favorite Pinterest board / aesthetic for a book?
I don’t typically do “aesthetics” for books since I’m kinda awful at it, but here’s some I made for Riley and Leslie a while back.
14) Favorite time periods & settings to work with?
As I said before, I tend to work mostly with present-day stories, but I’m also partial to WWII-era tales, steampunk-related time periods, or anything that could be considered “modern history.”
With settings, I tend to pick more suburban locations, just because that’s what I’ve grown up knowing, and it’s something that’s kind of nostalgic for me. Aside from that, I do like more urban settings as well. I’ll pretty much take anything as long as I get some creative freedom with it.
15) When people are done reading your book, what feeling do you want them to come away with?
No matter what I write, I want my readers to come away with my stories feeling hopeful. I’m not so much looking to write “and they lived happily every after” stories, but I want to give my readers hope. I’ve talked about this before when I defended Good vs. Evil stories, but I think that sometimes, we can get so caught up in the messiness of the world that we forget about the good things. If my stories can make someone feel like there’s something better in the future, I’ll feel like I’ve succeeded.