Have you read this book yet? If not you’re definitely missing out! You can find my full review here if you missed it but it’s a awesome read! I’m excited to have the wonderful ladies behind this great novel on the blog for a fun guest post on how they created these characters together! First, in case you live under a rock and missed what this book was all about:
These Broken Stars
Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Series: Starbound #1
Genre: Sci-Fi, YA
Publication date: December 10th 2013
by Disney Hyperion
It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.
Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.
Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?
Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.
Guest Post by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Let It Play Out: Role-playing scenes to establish characters
One of the challenges in any story is ensuring that every character her their own very definitive point of view. They need opinions, a backstory, goals and their own personal motivation to do whatever they’re going to do to move the story forward. It’s when a character starts acting a particular way because it’s convenient that the story starts to feel weak, or unlikely.
A character also needs a definite voice. You should know, especially if you have more than one narrator, who that character is. For example, in These Broken Stars, Tarver has a wry sense of humor, and an inner monologue that frequently dips into black humor, often at Lilac’s expense. Lilac speaks in longer sentences, is more formal (especially at first), to the point that she even uses fewer contractions than Tarver. All these little touches ensure that your characters feel real, and three-dimensional.
When we’re co-authoring, all these challenges are uppermost in our minds. Firstly, we need to make sure each character is following their own path and motivation. Secondly, we need to make sure each character speaks with their own voice.
But how do you do that? Perhaps it’s easy enough when that character’s the narrator, but what about when they’re not? When we were writing These Broken Stars, Amie took primary responsibility for Tarver, and Meg took primary responsibility for Lilac. And we found a system that worked!
When approaching a scene, each of us would consider it from our character’s point of view. What would they naturally think of it, what would they do, and why? What would they say and what would they keep to themselves? Focusing on just one character allowed us to go deeper into their heads, which meant we could really capture them authentically. Then we’d jump online and if we needed, role-play out the scene.
Taking it in turns, we’d note down what each character would do—words, gestures, tone, the works. Working our way through the scene, we’d let it progress, and depending on what the other did, things might change. Say I thought Tarver was going to stay pretty calm and argue his case—the moment Meg decided Lilac was going to take a jab at him about something that really mattered, that plan went out the window. Her jab was exactly what she would do, and I’d then consider Tarver’s response—a silent joke at her expense, a snap in reply, or one of the grins he knows drive her right up the wall—and throw it in. Like a tennis match or a duel, back and forth. Occasionally we’d drop in a little note about what someone was thinking/feeling, particularly if we knew our character would be narrating the scene, and therefore we’d be more inside their head.
When it came time to write a scene, each of us had a roadmap. We could take it from our character’s point of view, but be confident the other character’s responses would be consistent and authentic, because they were produced by an expert!
As we get deeper into a book we can often write scenes without this sort of consultation, as we get to know the characters better. Similarly, the better we get to know them, the easier it is for us to get our stick fingers all over each other’s chapters, tweaking and revising with confidence, because we know the characters well. At first though, assuming that one character is incredibly valuable, and with each of us keeping the other on their toes, it means the story never takes the easy way out!
About the Author
Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner are longtime friends and sometime flatmates who have traveled the world (but not yet the galaxy), covering every continent between them. They are sure outer space is only a matter of time. Meagan, who is also the author of the Skylark trilogy, currently lives in Asheville, NC, while Amie lives in Melbourne, Australia. Although they currently live apart, they are united by their love of space opera, road trips, and second breakfasts.
Visit the These Broken Stars website for the latest news on the series and follow the authors on Twitter at @AmieKaufman and @MeaganSpooner. You may also sign up for their newsletter as well! These Broken Stars will be available in North America on December 10, 2013.
This post is part of the These Broken Stars blog tour.
Monday, 11/11 The Midnight Garden
World-Building for the Future
Tuesday, 11/12 Love is Not a Triangle
Wednesday, 11/13 The Perpetual Page-Turner
Using Technology to Write with a Partner
Thursday, 11/14 Good Books and Good Wine
Audiobook Sample + Narrator Interview
Friday, 11/15 The Starry-Eyed Revue
Character Interview with Tarver
Monday, 11/18 Cuddlebuggery
You’re Here! PARTY TIME EVERYONE!
Tuesday, 11/19 Books With Bite
Amie & Meg’s Favorite Things
Wednesday, 11/20 Xpresso Reads
Establishing Characters with Role-Playing
Thursday, 11/21 Great Imaginations
Friday, 11/22 Nawanda Files
Lilac’s Gorgeous Dress: A Look at These Broken Stars’ Cover Art
Thanks to Disney Hyperion, you can win yourself a copy!
- Open to US and Canada only
- Full contest terms and conditions found on Rafflecopter