When I create a character for a novel I actually create so much more than ends up in the book. In order to keep their thoughts and actions consistent I need to know a lot about them; what motivates them, their past and dreams for the future, how they feel about they way they look and their place in this world.
Joelle Welker, my self-proclaimed Jesus Freak, is one of the most controversial characters in the book. She is a character not often seen outside of Christian literature. In this book she’s not a main character, not the heroine, but also not the villain. I created her (and absolutely love her) for a myriad of reasons.
|Cute tee that Joelle would wear (avialable on Zazzle)|
Her name is sweet and very feminine (and French) and speaks of a soft, sweet, docile girl. However, I created her as a great match for Ben because they are a lot alike in character. Both are focused, committed, loyal and leaders within their social groups. I could easily see where they would be attracted to each other and make a great couple in high school. Their issues start to arise as they get older and one of the things that drew them together, dedication, starts to break them apart. A relationship where neither party wants to bend is often doomed. She matches Ben in corresponding negative traits too. She is as inflexible and controlling he is and as strong leaders often are.
Part of what makes her controversial is her treatment of Carrie, which is not exactly the Christian ideal. What it is (at least in my eyes) is real and typical of any sixteen-year-old girl in love. She is socially smarter than Ben and correctly reads his unspoken feelings. I like that she isn’t some shrinking violet who sits in the corner and cries over this fact. She puts up a fight with whatever she has in her arsenal. Again, the traits that make her a great match for Ben, intelligence and drive, are the same ones that drive them apart. In the end she is angry (and I don’t blame her) and she vents it in a way she probably regrets later. Most of us did a few crazy or stupid things in the name of love in high school.
*spoiler alert* By keeping her character consistent, I was able to give her her own HEA (happily ever after) which I think turned out to be even better than what she would have had with Ben. Their relationship never would have survived their strong matching character traits whether Carrie was around or not.
As I work on the sequel I am delving deeper into MG and Steve; their motivations, traits, dreams and desires. It’s made me realize how much I leave out and that my readers might like to see more about the background I create for each character. Over the next few weeks I’ll present Ben and Carrie, MG and Steve and even introduce a few important minor characters from “Popstars, Friends and Lovers.”
One final note: I’ve created a hash tag for the second book. Almost all social media is now recognizing hash tags as a way to categorize information to make it easier to find. With my long titles, I would use up most of my Twitter characters with #BurnoutsGeeksJesusFreaks. So, in a fit of cleverness (at least in my mind) I created #♪☺♥ for the second book. Now you can search it on any social media if you want to follow along.