Monday, October 29, 2012

Our Characters, Ourselves

I almost didn’t do this week’s suggested blog topic. The topic this week is our main character, and what trait they have that we would want.

Well, my main character, Wren, is kind of a sociopath. Don’t get me wrong, she has a lot of great qualities, and she’s one of my favorite characters I’ve ever written, but trying to pick out a trait of a hardcore trained killer that I’d like for myself is a little tough.

And then I thought something that had run through my mind about a hundred times since finishing REBOOT – I hope people don’t think I’m like Wren.

I think people assuming our characters are a version of ourselves is something a lot of writers worry about, especially debut authors. We’ve run into plenty of people who want to know how we come up with our ideas, who in our life we modeled our characters after. As a teenager I wrote dark, edgy contemporary YA (before it was popular) and when I explained my plot I would often get horrified looks, like I was writing about my own experiences.

I never was, because my life is (and was) kind of boring. That’s not to say that my experiences haven’t shaped some of the events and characters in my books. They have. But only to an extent.

So after admitting to myself that I was worried people would think I was secretly a sociopath with no feelings I realized something – Wren would never worry about this. For the most part, she doesn’t care what people think of her. She’s busy and focused and she has too much to do to worry that people might get the wrong impression of her.

And then I thought about how this applied to what I call “early debut author panic,” which is coming on strong for me right now. I’ve picked apart every part of REBOOT in my head, second-guessed every plot decision I made, and I’m constantly worried about what people will take away from the book.

I don’t think Wren would worry about any of that either. She’s not one for dwelling on the past. She made a decision, there were consequences, she moves on.

I think that’s a good lesson for me right now. There’s nothing I can do about the decisions I made in REBOOT – the ARCs have been printed and I’ve sent in my final changes. I’m not even sure I would make changes if I could.

So I take it back. Maybe I do want to be a little like Wren.

I also wouldn’t mind a few of her butt-kicking skills. 

Amy Tintera is a full-time writer living in Los Angeles, CA. HarperTeen will publish her debut novel, REBOOT, May 7, 2013. Visit her website and blog: or follow her on Twitter: @amytintera



  1. I could use a little of Wren's attitude right now too. If it's not "debut author" panic, it's "writing the second book" panic. Kinda seeing a trend here :)

    Sounds like an exciting debut though!! Can't wait to pick it up!!

  2. Sounds like an interesting character ;)

    ...and as a teenager who got routinely sent to the counsellor's office for the short stories I'd turn in for English class... yeah, I can empathize ;)

    Deep breaths... it'll all be good :)