Characters – love them or hate them?
By Kathy Petrakis
Characters are people. Often they are based on real people. I know mine started that way. But then they develop a life of their own. They have distinctive physical features – blue eyes, curly hair, scars, tall, short, thin, obese, tattoos, dark skin, freckles and anything else you can think of. They could have a limp, a lisp, a stutter, terez, habitual blushing – the list goes on. But whatever the combination, it’s unique. The same way you are unique.
Why do we like some and not others?
The same reason you like some people and not others – there’s always something that appeals to you about someone – their kindness, their passion, their determination, their loyalty, courage, humor. The things you like about other people are also the things you like about a character.
The main thing about a character, though, is that in a book, they have an obstacle, a quest or a dream they want to overcome or reach. Hence, they are often put in situations where their integrity or spirit is challenged. They must make decisions that you may or may not agree with, but which you want to understand. For me, I have to be rooting for a character – wanting them to succeed, or do the right thing, or fall in love with the right person. I guess I want to feel their hope and success.
But like people, characters always have a flaw that holds them back – whether it’s greed, self-doubt, a fear or naivety – something that constantly interferes with their quest. But that’s what makes them real. For me as a writer, my greatest challenge is to make people lovable even when they screw up – you want to forgive them and hope they’ll get it right the next time.
But even the unlikeable characters – the ‘baddies’, should have a redeeming quality or a reason for their cruelty. I may not want them to succeed but I always want to at least understand how they got there.
When I read or when I write, I want to be part of that character’s life – engross myself in their quest or their challenges and go through it with them. If I can understand, forgive and love the character all at once, then it feels that they are truly a part of my life.
By Kathy Petrakis
Available as at 15 October 2012
Does passion and desire guarantee success? Can friends really be trusted? Can true love be found beneath lust and deceit?
These are questions tenacious street dancer Elena Martinez faces as she struggles to compete against the most talented students at New York’s top Performing Arts High School. Along with her best friend, the carefree and mischievous Sebastien Duval, they are determined to make center stage.But the singing diva Letitia has other plans. Beautiful, talented and popular, her desire for revenge could ruin everything for Elena and Sebastien. Now, they must fight against prejudice, treachery and deceit as Letitia sets out to destroy Elena’s friendships, her romance, her dignity and her dreams. Can Elena win the battle for true love, happiness and success?
By Kathy Petrakis
Available as at 28 April 2013
Can secrets stay hidden forever? Can people really change? Are some mistakes unforgivable?
As Elena and Sebastian embark on a fresh start, will Letitia keep his secret, or will she use it to destroy them?
As Veronika falls in love, Frankie is out of rehab and trying to make amends, but will it last for either of them?
Meanwhile, as Anya is torn between loyalty to her Nana and love for Darius, could Darius fall for the new temptress, Rosa? With her stunning looks, her powerful, sensual dancing and her desire to seduce, she has everyone nervous but what secret is she hiding?
Continue the roller-coaster journey with your favorite characters as they try to survive junior year at the country’s top performing arts school.
“Pick your mouth up, Elena. You’re drooling,” Frankie said as she poked her. In that moment, she noticed every detail. His honeycomb-colored skin was framed by short tight curls. His smile revealed perfect white teeth with a warmth that could melt ice, and a small silver stud in his right ear reflected the light and gave him that slightly rebellious edge. Standing, he was still mostly hidden by the piano, but Elena had seen everything she needed to. She couldn’t take her eyes off him, so as they began rehearsing Elena struggled to concentrate on her part.
“E-le-na, can you try and keep in tune?” a loud voice proclaimed, drawing Elena’s attention away from Jay as all the students stared. She looked around to see who would possibly be so rude. Of course. How could have she missed her? Letitia. Damn it! Elena faked a cough and pointed to her throat. Frankie covered her face with her hands, cringing.
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