Why I Want Strong Characters in YA

I always want to write (and read!) about strong characters.  And I don't mean just physically strong.  I want them to show ways of coping with difficult situations.  Pushing through emotional pain.  Facing up to their bullies.  Standing up for their beliefs.  Going back to school after something embarrassing happens (like crying in front of all of Year Ten, fourteen-year-old me GYAH).  Why? Because YA can show people how to deal with some of the things their lives will throw at them.  And no matter what the genre, there's always room for strong characters.

I also love the idea that a good book can give you strength.  There are times when you need all the help you can get, especially when you're a teenager and going through all kinds of emotional, social and physical changes.  Reading about a character who's going through a rough time but never giving in can be exactly the boost you need.

Maybe it's because I work with children, but I want characters to inspire readers and reassure them that they too can get through the bad times in their lives.

It's my goal for someone to read my books and think "yeah, I can be strong too".


  1. In my late teens/early 20s I read a series of YA novels that, I still believe, changed my life. My favourite character from the series had such an impact on me, I still commonly use the name as a pseudonym. I always love and strive to write strong characters.

  2. ^^^ This. Strong characters are one of the most important things you can give a book and its readers. I feel like, without strong characters, not only is the story not as good as it could be, but it won't resonate as strongly as it could with readers.

  3. I think this is the big reason that more girls are drawn toward Katniss than Bella. They crave someone who is willing to take control of their fate.

  4. Ah, I SO agree! I learned so much from books growing up (and still do)! And I love strong characters - ones that stand up for right, for their friends, and family, and themselves!!

  5. This is so true. Life is tough, and you need to learn how to square your shoulders and just get on with it. I like Rose Hathaway from Vampire Academy for this very reason.

  6. And seeing MCs overcome adversity through strength of character leaves you feeling euphoric. Like the Karate Kid movie. Or maybe that was physical strength :/ Anyway, you know what I mean.

  7. Angeline: Oooh, I'd love to know the series!

    Francesca: Yes, exactly!

    Tasha: It's funny you mention Katniss as I've been reading the Hunger Games trilogy. She's certainly talented with that bow ;)

    Nicole: Me too, and I want to add to that world of strong characters.

    Christine: Exactly! Characters should show it's totally possible to stand on your own two feet and do something about your own life.

    Amanda: Hee, that's totally a blend of both. WAX ON, WAX OFF!

  8. Amen! I feel strongly about that too. I think all literature should convey some kind of theme/message/lesson, and ESPECIALLY YA literature. We need to help the next generation be awesome. And I love the idea that showing them strong examples is a way to do that.

  9. Kris: Yes, I feel it is especially important in YA to provide stories that can offer the reader strength :)


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