She flew the night skies seeking YA books that contained characters that looked like her, sounded like her and lived the life she lived wrapped in suburbia’s blanket – a warm, comforting sameness that belies the silent struggle that is the everyday existence of a person of color. Flowing effortlessly as the only or one of a few brown faces in a predominately white sea without ever losing the subtle cultural traditions that are, yet aren’t the Black experience.
Finding none, she ZAP, BOOM, POWWED a series that would satisfy the masses craving a world where diversity was just a matter-of-fact, not a political correctness mandate. She is, Character Chick.
Normally, I try and keep my superpowers on the low, but YA Highway’s call for revelation of one’s writing superpowers has encouraged me to come forward. I am, in fact, Character Chick. When I write, I have no idea where the story will go because it’s all about the character. I feel each character in my head and my heart. I know what they’re thinking and why they’re thinking it. The story is about what they’re going to do about it.
Plot? Keep that thing away from me. It saps my powers and brings me to my knees. The second I’m forced to think strategically about the plot my palms sweat. I’m looking left then right trying to find an exit away from its needy questions and insane need to have them answered.
To battle the plot monster, I sink deeper into my character’s head, visualizing their backstory, tapping into what drives them until the words flow once more detailing how they will overcome the obstacle thrown in front of them.
Somehow it comes together. Somehow a theme presents itself and *gasp* the plot emerges, a thin wisp of mist wafting over the characters within and Character Chick can fly away satisfied she’s produced yet another jewel for her beloved teen readers (and not-so-teen lovers of YA).
Please, tell no one. I fear being banned from the writing community as plot is a relatively important part of the story. If anyone knew it was my weakness they might start suggesting things like outlining *shudders* and index cards (all which I’ve tried, by the way).
Maybe one day I’ll conquer the plot monster and actually start a book revolved specifically around it. Until then I’ll fly the skies content that as long as the characters whisper to me, plots will evolve around their strengths, weaknesses and ability to overcome them. For I am Character Chick, and character development is my power!