Characters don’t know what they need #BehindTheStar
During the 2019 edition of NaNoWriMo I started writing a new novel, Behind the Star. This time, instead of a chick-lit, I’m writing a young adult set in modern contemporary world and starring two main characters.
The first is Susanna Mason. She is a smart girl, with excellent marks and a very busy life — she is an athlete, writes for the school’s newspaper, volunteers as a tutor for other students, and works for her mother. However, there’s a guilty pleasure in her focused life — her unrestrained passion for Nelson Tracey, the famous pop-star.
The second main character starring in Behind the Star is — drum roll — none other than Nelson Tracey himself. A teenage idol, a young and talented singer, adored by fans all over the world, and very rich for his age.
I know what you are thinking.
There are enough stories starring singers. Why add another one to the shelves?
Well, I had this idea, one morning while I was driving to work, and it didn’t leave me alone until I laid at least the foundations for it on paper. This is a strong sign pointing towards something I need to write. I wanted to give these characters and this inciting incident a chance and see what happens.
I wanted to test my skills and put myself in the shoes of a character as different from me as possible.
I’m not talking about Susanna Mason, no. I’m referring to Nelson Tracey. He is a male which isn’t a challenge per se — I already wrote male characters, such as Diego in Secrets of a Handbag — but his life is as different as mine as possible. His teenage years are the opposite of my adolescence.
He is handsome, talented, rich, famous, popular. He isn’t graduate at high school yet and already has a career, a staff, people working with him and for him. Instead, I was the typical uncool teenage girl, with very few friends, her nose buried in novels and bound to be a wallflower at parties.
If it’s true what George. R. R. Martin says, that “a reader lives a thousand lives before he dies”, this is as true (if not truer) for a writer. So I put myself into the shoes of a teenage idol to understand his relationship with success and with his fans, his deepest desires and needs, and his secrets.
What does a golden boy might want? What may lack in his perfect life? What does he want? And what does he need?
As usual, characters know what they want but have a scarce understanding of what they need, and tend to choose the wrong desires.
Nelson Tracey is not ready to meet you yet. You must wait a little more for before an excerpt is ready because I’m a slow writer and an even slower translator. But I assure you’ll hear about him again.
In the meantime I leave you with a question. Was there a time when you knew what you wanted but then found that what you needed was something else?
Share your story in the comments, if you’re not afraid of ending up in one of my novels!