Anna - Copyright Meghan Riley 2015

Anna – Copyright Meghan Riley 2015

This post is part of an ongoing series where I delve into the development aspects of my writing. Check back later for more posts just like this. 

It’s common practice for authors to have specific people in mind when they write characters into a story. It helps make them more believable, because the writer is sharing facts they’ve already witnessed. A single character can be based on one person…or two or three…whatever works to create a specific effect for a story. Just take a look at the Casts feature of Wattpad and you’ll see how popular character models are.

When I created Anna, I didn’t really have anyone in mind. Even now, after developing her throughout an entire book, I can’t name one person that she’s based on. She’s a shadow, an impression of a certain type of person I’ve seen over and over again in my life. She’s the girl that doesn’t get a lot of attention, because she doesn’t demand it. She’s quietly spectacular, because no one her age has the maturity to recognize it. Her teenage years aren’t all that thrilling, but she has the makings to be a rockstar adult…You just wait and see.

Still, the character of Anna needed a twist (not speaking of the obvious…or not so obvious?), which is why I included the loss of her father and her family struggles, a situation that far too many young people in the U.S. can relate to. Part of her just wants to be a teenage girl without any real world worries, but the other part of her feels obligated to take on adult responsibilities to preserve what’s left of her family. She desires to be at the same place as the popular people in her school, who she thinks has it good, but she also can’t help but doubt if she really has a place among them when her true character, that part of her that loves physics and knowledge, doesn’t seem to really mesh with them.

Physically, I made Anna vague. Some may think it’s to enhance her averageness and, in a way, they’re right. Anna isn’t the prom queen type. Boys aren’t falling all over her. She doesn’t have a “rocking bod”. But it wasn’t to make her physically boring. I wanted readers to fill in the blanks, because Anna represents the majority of teenage girls who aren’t high school idols. I want the readers to realize that this – this strange journey Anna takes – could happen to anyone.

So, when I look back at Anna, I don’t see a face or faces of specific people. What I get is a feeling – an impression left upon me from stories and people in my past. I hope to transfer that feeling to Anna’s story so that readers will have something to relate to and take away from the story. If you haven’t read Anna (The Starseed Series), here’s where you can purchase it in print and ebook.

If you have any questions about the character of Anna, feel free to leave them in the comments below and I shall respond in due time.