We're pleased to welcome author Sarah Fine to Heroes and Heartbreakers. Sarah's Sanctum is the first book in her Guards of the Shadowlands series, and features a seventeen year-old heroine who will enter Hell itself to save her friend. Today Sarah is here to talk about how to make a great YA hero. Thanks, Sarah!
In all genres, but especially those oriented toward action, successful stories have to avoid the implausibility trap. Shy, soft girls can’t use blackbelt moves to get themselves out of trouble. A kid without a serious hacker rep can’t pull an elegant solution to some high tech problem out of his…ear. In other words, there has to be some smooth integration of a character’s background into the story so that readers can be comfortable with what’s happening.
There are a few ways this can be accomplished:
Born with it. Some characters have special powers, like Glory in Deviants by Maureen McGowan, or Juliette in Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. Often, these characters are unable to control their gifts initially (and they often believe them to be curses). Sometimes, they only discover or trigger the ability in the book (as with Ellie in Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton or Clary in City of Bones by Cassandra Clare). Whenever they become aware of it, though, the core power is there and is simply part of them. So when they’re pushed to the brink, readers buy that these characters can pull out that can o’ whoopass and go to town.