Check out this special guest post from Author K. N. Smith!
Like authors of any other genre, YA fiction writers can learn many new things if they're open to the process. One of the keys to a successful book for a young audience is character believability. This is much easier said than done. Imagine spending multitudes of hours crafting a personality out of thin air. What we do is wholly visualize the character, dissecting every single detail about him or her, with the remaining time spent articulating that to the reader. It's part of the craft that needs a lot of attention, even being worthy of visually sketching-out or pre-determining the characters' events from chapter to chapter, just to stay on track. Something not to be forgotten is the emotion and passion each character will need in order to bring the story to life.
For me, the reason this post is focused on character development relates to recent reviews I have received, and second, the enjoyable experience I recently had watching the movie Goosebumps starring Jack Black about the adventures of Author R.L. Stine. While reviewing some of my recent reviews, I was encouraged to reflect more deeply on character development in preparation for the next book in the series.
I felt transported to another world just by experiencing the lives of these incredible characters who are so true to life and authentic-feeling, yet unlike any I’ve met before.
When I saw the movie Goosebumps, I was immediately attracted to the excellent character development happening within the scenes. The fear, the excitement, the emotion in those characters was quite brilliant! You could see and feel what they were going through in a very real way. In particular, the "Chump" character was great! He really displayed quite a number of emotions, and was extremely believable.
I love this aspect of writing, and I implore you to dig deep when it comes to developing your own characters. They need to come to life. You should give yourself enough time to really study them, grow them, relate the dialogue to their distinct personalities, and make them believable and real. And trust me, characters have flaws. They have ups and downs, and strength and weaknesses just like you and I. Therefore, if you think about yourself and your own experiences, and those of the people around you, you will have all the backstory you need to create a memorable, lasting, and exciting narrative for your next project. Thank you for allowing me to share with you today, I hope you enjoy the excitement of The Urban Boys!
At what point in your life did you know that you liked to write?
When I was a young girl in the 4th or 5th grade. Also, I wanted to be an English teacher when I grew up. I loved reading and writing from a young age, and was exposed to books in my home at an early age, as well as frequent library visits throughout my childhood. We also had a large roll-top desk where I would do my homework and study. In high school, I ventured into advanced reading and loved to write essays. This was absolutely my favorite part of school and it was then that I realized I had a talent for writing.
Did you have a favorite author growing up?
No, I loved the work of many, fine authors. But growing up, two stood out amongst the others: S.E. Hinton and Harper Lee. “The Outsiders” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” were my favorite books, followed by their respective movies. I can honestly describe myself as being completely taken with both of these novels. I've read other books by S.E. Hinton, and have seen all of her movies. Talk about memorable characters! These lasting impressions will be with me forever.
What's involved with your writing process?
Regarding actually plotting a book, I think the writing process is smoother when an author knows where they’re going. Thinking about the story on a big, broad level can be useful, then by working backward, breaking the story into chapters comes next. What I do from there is break each chapter down by scenes, then add in the detail. I’m a lyrical writer so there’s no shortage of detail, but in general, this is how I approach the writing process. Because I’m a busy person with other tasks at hand always, this helps me focus my time so I can get to those 1,000 words per day that I challenge myself to write in order to complete a book.
What was your favorite scene to write?
The scene where the dark stranger finally tells the boys what the heck is going on. It’s the one scene that pulls the entire story together.
What was the hardest scene to edit out?
The final fight scene, because there is so much going on. I had to visually map it out remembering who got knocked to the left and who got kicked to the right. The tension was so thick in that scene you could cut it with a knife, and it seems to be a reader favorite. It was a blast!
Will this be a standalone or part of a series?
This book is the first in a series. There will likely be five books in this series.
Are you currently working on anything else?
I’m working on the second book in this series, and plotting the final books. It's an interesting process weaving all of it together!
ABOUT K. N. SMITH:
K.N. Smith is an American author and passionate advocate of childhood and family literacy programs throughout the world. She continues to inspire students of all ages to reach their highest potential in their literary and educational pursuits.
An established non-fiction writer, Smith chose the teen fiction genre as a way to enhance her daughters’ (then) high school literary experience, and to engage other youth in literacy development. Her creative literary flair sweeps across pages that twist, turn, and grind through elements of paranormal and action-adventure in diverse, exciting, edge-of-your-seat narratives.
As an ardent supporter of youth and family literacy programs across the globe, she states, “My hope is that The Urban Boys will spark imagination in a wide variety of readers while elevating global literacy efforts. It’s important that we have diverse families of readers for generations to come.”
K.N. Smith has over twenty years experience in writing, communications, and creative design. She lives with her family in California.
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*Book Tour Media Kit provided by Susan Barton, My Book Tour