Monday 26 June 2017

Creative Characters: Writing Alex & Ahmed


With just under a week to go until the release of It's Not Always Rainbows, I thought I would dedicate this Monday post to writing the other two main characters from the book. A couple of weeks ago I did a short piece about writing Cat and Jayden which can be found here.

First a little background about each character. Let's start with Alex: He's sixteen, very much ready for school to be over and his exams behind him. He's gay and in an on again/off again relationship with Greg who's in the year below them at school. His parents are from Crotia and moved to the UK before Alex was born. His parents, and in some ways, Alex himself, are Catholic. He's kept his sexuality from them simply because he's not sure how they'd take it.


Alex was a fricking joy to write! I already had my plans for his character and it was so easy to find his voice in the midst of the story. I always knew how he'd react to a comment and how he'd present himself to the world, and his peers. In a lot of ways, Alex is the group's defender. The first to jump to their defence should somebody hurt them verbally, physically or emotionally. He's on top of that. Exploring Alex's background was a big joy for me because I loved that he was always very much open with his friends, but guarded with others. He adopts the persona of being a ladies man, even though it's pretty much common knowledge around the school that he's gay. He's so comfortable in his own skin and throughout the story, he grew as a character.

As I said in the piece about Jayden and Cat, I knew what I didn't want the story to be. I didn't want it to be only about coming out and the angst that may or may not come with that. I'm hoping that I was successful in doing that but with Alex I know I wrote a good character. He was always very sure of both what he believed and how he wanted to present to the world. If there was a way to right a wrong, he'd be first in line to do just that. And as the story progressed, Alex's character grew. I loved writing him and exploring his characterisation and view on the world.

And now Ahmed: He's sixteen, quite reserved but also looking forward to getting done with school. He's gay, but again he hasn't told his parents. His family isn't religious, but they are traditional. They moved from Iraq when they were children and want to bring Ahmed up knowing his culture. He hasn't told them not just because of fear of being shunned, but also because he's not really sure about whether he wants them to know.


I struggled to begin with finding Ahmed's voice. It was something that almost made me either stop writing or think about taking him out of the book. I'm so glad I didn't and that I kept with it because when I found his voice, it was amazing and a joy to write him. There were parts of my first draft that I am so very glad never saw the light of day as they were that bad! Ahmed is very serious, wanting to stay out of the reach of the bullies but at the same time protect him friends. It's only as he starts to grow as a character, and as the attacks start getting serious that he starts to come out of his shell.

He's loyal to a fault, but at the same time very assured of what he's doing, thinking, saying. He doesn't want to walk around with a target on his back and because of that he holds back where Alex and Cat want to push forward. He's a lovely character and once I got into his head I found that I actually quite enjoyed getting to know him.

So that's it for these characters. I have been playing around with the idea of doing a set of questions and interviews with each of my main characters. If that's something you'd like to see, please comment below and let me know. And don't forget to pick up your copy of It's Not Always Rainbows on Amazon. It'll going to be 99p/99c until July 7th when it'll revert to the full price of £2.99/$2.99! You can find it on here on UK & US.

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