Pauline Luke grew up in country Victoria, lived in Canada where he raised her own family, and now lives in Melbourne.
She is the author of three YA novels: Amber Pash on Pink, Bronco, Fi, Maddie & Me, and Knowing Joey Field.
When Goldie asked that I write about characterisation, I needed to think about it for a time because I had never really analysed how I approach character development.
I know that there are writers who spend a great deal of time building up a profile of their characters: their favourite food, star sign, events that may have shaped their personality, books they read, etc. Some cut out pictures of people they imagine their characters may look like, the clothes they may wear, and the type of house where they would live.
While only a fraction of this information may be used, the writer has a clearly defined picture of their characters before they even begin to write. Having this solid base works very well for many.
I start with very loose idea of what my major characters are like: sex, age, family situation and a notion of their basic personality. But what I do have is a clearly defined situation in which I wish to place my characters.
I do not know exactly how they will act until confronted with the challenges I put in their way. Sometimes they fulfil my expectations but more often than not, they develop a mind of their own and react and develop in ways I did not foresee. As a result the plot may take unexpected twists and turns.
I guess you could say my characters are a more abstract product of my sub-conscious mind rather than the more concrete figures that are the product of more structured thinking. In the end it is not a matter of which method a writer employs; the test of whether a character works or not is really the degree to which the reader believes in and relates to your characters.
Each of my YA novels has at least one quirky, seemingly minor character or two.
In Amber Pash on Pink it was a grandfather who was into yoga and colour meditation; and Basil, the ugliest dog in the world. And yes, I consider a dog can be a very important character in a story.
In Bronco Fi Maddie and Me it is an eccentric aunt who gives Bronco the video camera which inspires him to become a film producer. And Ms Cappedes, the writer in residence who teaches students about the power of words, rolls up in some pretty wild outfits.
Wilbur Gale with his passion for bread making, plays an important role in Knowing Joey Field.
As well being the catalyst for action, these characters offer a sense of fun. And the teenagers in my novels can be seen interacting with and accepting these people who are different or from a much older age group, which I think is important. For it is through the characters that writers present their ideas.
You can find out more about Pauline by visiting her website.
My next reverse blog visitor will be Steven Herrick.