Monday 12 September 2022

Writing Characters: Jessie & Marcus


As we approach the release of Cramping Chronicles: The Second Pang, I thought that I would delve into writing some of the characters, as well as the dynamic between Jessie and her trigger, Marcus. Last week I talked about writing Jessie and Meera, which can be found here.

For those who don't know the story is a young adult urban fantasy series that deals with Jessie Oliver, who's fifteen, chronically ill, and a new empath. She has the ability to literally feel certain people's physical and mental pain. In the first book, she was getting used to having this ability and how it impacted her life, and in the second, Jessie is making roads into learning how to control it, or at least trying to.

So let's go into writing Marcus, who is the trigger in this book.


I always knew the arc of Marcus' character through this book. I knew things about him long before I sat down to write it, and I also knew that he would have ideas about what Jessie was before she even thought about disclosing things. Marcus is fifteen and in a whole world of hurt. An accident killed his family, and he's trying to work through that grief which has a bit of a personal impact on Jessie, but we'll get to that in a moment.

My editor said it best when she said that Marcus, as a character, does not like things. He's a delight to be around when he's doing okay, but he also has a hair trigger when it comes to certain things. He doesn't want to talk about the accident, understandably, and he doesn't want to even think about how to move past what happened to him, which is, again, understandable. He's in a world of hurt, and isolated and alone, he's really struggling to cope with everything, which is one of the reasons he reacts so badly when Jessie tries to help.

As a character, he was a lot of fun to write, a lot of fun to connect with, and a lot of fun to explore. His arc is so familiar to me, in some ways, and in others not so much, and while I will give trigger warnings for self harm and suicidal ideation, I also feel like his story needed to be told. As someone who had similar issues myself, it was a story that I wanted to do justice and also wanted to have out there for my readers.

One of the things that I didn't know going into the first draft was that there already was a connection between Jessie and Marcus that neither one of them was aware of. I won't go into detail here because I feel like it would spoil the book, but that connection really drives the dynamic between the two of them.

Jessie is getting to a point where she needs a tutor, she needs some kind of control over her ability and she doesn't have the first clue where to start. She is struggling with school, with her triggers and everything that goes with them, and while she wants, very much, to help Marcus, it's hard to balance all of that together. Marcus on the other hand doesn't want to be looked at or helped because of pity. He's clear in what he wants, he has his plan, and he'll stop at nothing to get it done, and that was something that I really wanted to make sure stayed obvious throughout their arc, and development.

Overall, I loved writing the two of them, and I adore the way this book has shaped up and has come together. Like I said, you can pre-order here, the book is coming November 15th 2022, and I hope you all enjoy it.

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments below!

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