How to Make Up a Character the Easy Way – Behind the Scenes of 2108 (Part I)
With just over a month away from the big reveal of 2108: Eyes Open, I thought I’d write a “Behind the Scenes” series of blogs leading up to the launch. First off, if you haven’t scoped out the basic book info, check it out here.
When thinking up a character, I often do the following:
- Mix together bits of different people I know, have met or seen
- Dream up a layer of background
- Add a good dose of motivation
- And then, walla! I have new person nobody recognizes.
But that takes a lot of work. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a fun process and very rewarding. But this time round I used a much easier way. I did something risky. Yes, I did. I’m sure other authors do it, more or less, to some extent. But here I am blatantly admitting it. I made one of the characters in 2108 a lot like me. And not just any character. I made Jewel, the main character, a lot like me. I think that had something to do with how fast, easy and fun 2108 was to write.
Now Jewel is not entirely me, by any means. I had to add in a layer of temperament to make her closer to sixteen years old, and I took a little license here and there. She’s a bit more impetuous, naïve, (hopefully more) foolish and sometimes bolder. She deals with some of the same issues I dealt with at that age—not feeling like she fits in anywhere entirely, trying to cover up secrets with half-truths, and being a bit prejudiced. I know I’ve grown a lot since sixteen, and in the book and the coming sequels, hopefully Jewel will grow some too! I guess that would be dependent on whether I decide to have her grow or not, wouldn’t it? Okay, she’ll grow.
Jewel and I both love making miniatures. We enjoy music, kayaking, trekking in New Zealand . . . and tree houses! We also both feel part Chinese . . . though for different reasons. Whereas her surrogate mother was Chinese, I grew up in a Chinese neighborhood. We both often prefer to watch and try to figure things out first, without asking a lot of questions. And we both grew up as the only child, beloved by a slightly absent-minded father.
There are ways I wish I were like Jewel too. I wish I had a widge (a wearable computer that projects holographic images), an Aerokopa (a flying car) and her house in New Zealand that would be right about here. I’m not sure I want her propensity for trouble . . . but that sure made her fun to write about.
All in all, it was a fun experience to use some of my own characteristics to invent Jewel. It certainly made it easy. Hopefully it made it good. I’ll let you all be the judge of that!
In the next few weeks, I’ll continue Behind the Scenes of 2108 and look at, among other things, the weird and almost unbelievable information I scoped out and incorporated into 2108. If there’s something in particular you want to know about the journey of writing 2108, leave a comment and I’ll see if I can incorporate it in somewhere!