Thursday, August 9, 2012

Memorable characters

Hey guys!

How are you? I hope you're doing great. This is my first blog entry here, and I must add I'm really honored to be a new YA Stands blogger.

I'm Becca. Nice to meet you! :)
So, I thought I should briefly introduce myself before we get to our YA topic today. Well, my name is Rebecca Carvalho (I go by Becca), I'm twenty-four years old, am married to my best friend (the BEST husband ever!), am Brazilian, writer and translator, fan of Harry Potter, passionate about animals, addicted to sugar and caffeine, and an introvert. . . although never shy. Just quiet. Just a good listener, if you know what I mean. I have a B.A. in English from Lawrence University, Wisconsin, and that's where I lived for four years. And how I miss the Midwest. You have no idea.

Well, speaking of missing things, I thought we should talk about YA characters we like so much that we end up missing them when we're done reading their adventures. Have you noticed how attached we get to certain characters? For some reason, some characters just get in our lives. . . and never leave. We don't want them to leave. These characters feel so real – as real as if you actually knew them in person.

When Harry went to Hogwarts for the first time, I was there with him, just as excited and self-conscious. I bet you were, too. When Hermione freaked out about her grades, I did too. When Ron tried to join Gryffindor's quidditch team, I felt just as nervous. When Dumbledore died, I cried. Cried when Dobby died, too. And fought my hardest whenever You-Know-Who – or, should we just call him Voldemort – showed up.

And, guys, it's not just a matter of experiencing the story we're reading. It's also how stories help us go through life. When a characters keeps hoping and fighting, somewhere inside of us there's a spark of hope as well. If he or she can do this, I sure can as well. You witness Katniss' suffering, grief, hunger and pain, and for some reason your problems don't feel as difficult as before. You see Peeta's loyalty to his friends, and you suddenly try to be a better friend. You want to hear something funny about me? So, whenever I'm feeling down, I always remember all tests I took online said I'm a Gryffindor, and so I think, well, maybe there's courage hidden within me and I don't know.

We write YA stories, and many readers look for characters they could relate to. Above all, they look for characters who feel real, even the ones coming from the most surreal worlds. Even the most eccentric ones. Reading is, after all, an opportunity to travel and meet new people, new creatures, new worlds. But there's reality in magic. Reality has to do with neither being good or bad, I think.

I don't want to sound preachy, but if I had to ask something of you and myself, I'd say let's write memorable characters. Let's do our best to bring to the world characters people will miss. And I'm not talking about writing stories filled with characters who are teaching something. No, not really. I'm talking about writing honestly, about bringing to the world characters who are as true as you are. Characters who are true in their qualities and in their faults. These characters are the ones, I think, who take us by the read when we read their stories, the ones who push us, the ones who yell at us when necessary, the ones who wait for us, the ones who say “you better hurry now, otherwise you'll miss the train!”

I hope this entry was useful somehow. It's great meeting you guys. Stay strong, keep fighting, write as much as you can, read just as much, and live. Happy August, everyone! 


  1. This is perfect, you're a great pearson and writer too! Hugs.

  2. Nice to meet you, Becca! Awesome post. I totally agree - whenever I panic about my grades(when they drop down to low Bs or Cs), I remember those online tests who tell me I'm a Ravenclaw. I remember Hermione felt the same way, and suddenly I feel so much better. :) Memorable characters are the loyal friends who you can return to over and over again (like Harry Potter).

    1. I have a friend who used to be really torn between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, but she actually felt more relieved when she found out the sorting hat actually considered putting Professor Minerva McGonagall in Ravenclaw.

      Professor McGonagall was a genius, but I guess in the end the trait she would need to perfect the most to go through life was her courage. The opposite applies to Luna, I guess, who's naturally chivalrous, but her creativity and imagination needed the right training so she just wouldn't wander into her daydreams and forget about the real world.

      It just shows, I guess, that we have a bit of everything, of all these characteristics the sorting hat mentions, but there's probably one or two we need to improve in order to go through our adventures. :)

  3. I've always wanted to go to Brazil. I don't know why I'm writing that other than you mention your husband is Brazilian. I think that's cool.

    As for memorable characters? Yes, I agree. But the pros make it look so easy. That is always what we should strive for though, right?

    1. Then, please, do visit us! And, actually, I'm the Brazilian one here. Haha. The way I phrased it before definitely made it sound like my husband is Brazilian -- which he wouldn't mind, since he does walk around the apartment wearing the Brazilian soccer team jersey -- but I'm the one from Terra Brasilis.

      It is really hard, indeed, to strive for memorable characters. What I think, however, is that we're often so naturally and understandably inclined to mimicking what good characters feel like (or, rather, what "good" writing feels like), that our own characters end up flat, they end up just parroting other voices. But, I suppose, if we tried to let their own voices flow normally, and their own personalities show its many facets, we'd learn to let memorable characters exist in our stories.

      I'm not saying I've achieved this level of writing wisdom, but I hope we'll get there together. :)