Do you ever read a book and fall in love with a character?
Okay, if you've ever read a book AT ALL you probably have. Great character writing allows us to visualize the characters so much that we feel we actually know them. Sometimes they feel as real to us as actual people.
Writing is very similar! I love all of my characters, though for different reasons. They are multi-faceted, complicated creatures that I wish I could say were all of my own making.
Stick with me here.
For me, I created the characters, yes. I gave them names, fleshed out their personalities...but then something amazing happened. They became so clear in my head that they were just like real people. They took on their own personalities and showed me a depth to their "personhood" that I didn't consciously create.
And here's the best part: They started to tell me the story.
No, really. Once the characters were real in my head, I just had to listen to them tell the story. They told me what happened in each scene as I described it through their eyes.
Maybe that sounds a little, er, metaphysical, maybe, or... SUPERNATURAL. Yup. That's the word. :) (You know, because The Secret of the Codex is an archaeological supernatural thriller. See what I did there?)
But it totally happened. The scene in which I remember this happening the most clearly was a scene where people had died. I knew that someone had died, but I didn't actually know who until the character took me through the scene and showed me who exactly what had happened, what exactly they saw.
It's crazy, I know. But we writers can be a little crazy sometimes. It's part of our charm. :)
This kid is amazing. I just love him so much.When we first meet him in The Secret of the Codex, he's a relatively scrawny kid, one of the youngest soldiers in the Clan. (The Clan is the name of the small contingent of people determined to keep the Secret from being revealed to the world.) At first, Na-um, our main antagonist, doesn't see much potential in him and almost sends him home.
But then he discovers that Holun seems to have a little something extra to offer the Clan's army, something no one else possesses...
Holun...opened his eyes just as the other boy lurched toward him to attack. Right before the other recruit could touch him, he jumped to the side, just out of reach. The older boy fell to the ground, stumbling as he missed his mark. Holun seized the opportunity, kneeling on his attacker and restraining him.
Na-um’s mouth dropped open slightly. The youngest of their soldiers had won the fight despite the other boy’s disproportionate advantage; Na-um was impressed.
Meet Holun (at least a good inspo pic for him)
Isn't this kid adorable?
That's totally Holun — an easy-going, adorable kid who finds himself as part of the army of a ruthless Clan. Eventually, he even becomes Na-um's second-in-command, despite his age.
This kid is super conflicted throughout the book. How does he reconcile what his leader, Na-um, is telling him about the Secret and the people trying to uncover it and what his heart is telling him is right? And what does he do once he figures it out?
Seriously — most of the time I just wanted to reach into the pages and give him a hug. No kid that young should ever have to go through all that! But, you know, it's not TOTALLY my fault, right? (see above) hahaha
Okay, yes, it's completely my fault. :D But I'm okay with that.
Because Holun's story is so often similar to our own. What we know to be true — what we were taught was true as children — doesn't always continue to make sense into adulthood. It doesn't always have to be something significant — it can be little things we question, like if we actually like broccoli — but those questions and re-evaluations of "what we know" are an important part of growing up.
I guess you could say that, in The Secret of the Codex, Holun grows up.