Beautiful People is a link up for writers hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. In Cait’s own words: It’s aimed at writers so they can answer the questions about their characters and their books. It’s designed to help you get to know your book better! (And also give your followers a sneak peek of your works-in-progresses). If you want to learn more or join in you can visit the official page. It happens every month, and you can decide at what time within the month you want to post it.
I’ll admit it, I dropped the ball on the February Beautiful People. I was still in the process of deciding if I even wanted a couple in my novel and couldn’t decide what couple I would want after that, and exploded with indecision. And even now, more than a month later I still can’t decide. I think I’m leaning towards no romance, because it doesn’t really fit and if it doesn’t fit I’m not going to force it. But I’m back at it this month! So here we go.
What first inspired this character? Is there a person/actor you based them off?
I honestly can’t even remember what inspired me to create Nick. I think I wanted to create a character that wasn’t like the typical everyday, and I didn’t want them to be too much like me. So right off the bat I knew I wanted a male character, because I had already planned out all these strong female characters and wanted some balance. I was also a bit inspired by Eric Walter’s novel Rebound which my 6th grade teacher read to us. I remember being so blown away because I didn’t know anyone who was in a wheelchair. To me, that was a really diverse character. Also then we got to go to the rec center and play wheelchair basketball which was ultra cool. So I knew I wanted a wheelchair bound character and Nick slowly came into focus. But David is also a very different character from Nick. Where Eric Walters character is very bitter from his experience, Nick is more fearful and closed off. I didn’t want a character that lashed out because I can’t really relate to that enough to write it. But a character that holds things in and tries to put on a brave face, that’s something I can write, and that’s Nick.
EDIT: I realized that I should probably put an inspiration picture, because I have one and I’ve LOVED seeing them on other people’s March Beautiful People Posts, so here is one of Nick. But like younger, probably not much facial hair (he’s a teenager after all) and less model handsome. Oh, also this is Yani Gellman who is an actor on the Young and the Restless apparently.
Describe their daily routine.
Nick is home schooled and so he wakes up around the time his mom goes to work. She leaves a bunch of homework with him for the day. He finishes it fairly quickly and then spends the rest of his time reading. He rarely leaves the house on his own and has a solitary life. It’s not the most exciting and Nick knows that, which is why escaping into fiction is so important to him. Until he meets a witch, then everything is much different.
If they joined your local high school, what clique would they fit into?
Booknerds? Sci-fi geeks? Are those cliques? He would be part of some sort of specialized interest fringe clique. I toyed with giving him a friend also in a wheelchair, then didn’t bother with it.
Write a list of things they merely tolerate. Ex: certain people, foods, circumstances in their lives…
Homework, crockpot meals, casseroles, basically any food that is just a bunch of stuff tossed together in a pot, people’s stares, pitying glances, his stepdad for the most part (he likes him, but they aren’t close), his walker (too slow), the stairlift (also too slow)
How do they react in awkward silences?
Usually by telling a terrible or otherwise inappropriate joke. Or he just lets the silence sit and makes it even more awkward while he tries to decide if he’s the one causing the awkward silence.
Can they swim? If so, how did they learn?
I haven’t actually thought about this! I should probably look into people who paralysis swimming or being in the water. My first thought is that of course they couldn’t swim, but I don’t know for sure. Could you use your arms only? I can’t swim myself so it never even crossed my mind.
What is one major event that helped shape who they are?
I suppose the most obvious would be when the atrophy got bad enough that he couldn’t walk without assistance. Certainly, this isn’t the most important aspect of his life, but it has shaped the sort of character he’s become. A lot of his fears and insecurities come back to his feelings that his disability has hindered him or otherwise created an emotional burden for his family.
What things do they value most in life?
Family and books. Family because that’s who he’s in contact with mostly and who he trusts to stand by him no matter what. His mother, primarily, is a constant source of stability. He knows that she’ll always be there for him. Books are Nick’s primary method of escapism. He imagines himself as the characters in the books and creates a life for himself that doesn’t exist in reality.
Do they believe in giving other people second chances? Do they have any trust issues?
Nick starts out with a certain outlook towards people, which is that they only bother with you if you can give them something. And in his mind he doesn’t have anything to give. He can’t understand why someone would be nice to him or want to spend time with him if they weren’t getting something in return. As a result he has trouble making friends because no one ever really seems like they’re his friend. They just seem like people that want something. But at the same time he craves friends and so he’s worked to find something of value he can give to people. Herein lies his habit of making jokes and presenting himself as a class clown, this is how he finds value in his personality. So in short, yes, he absolutely has trust issues. He’s not a forgive and forget kind of guy, more of a forgive and ‘always bring up that time they did that terrible thing’.
Your character is having a rough day…what things do they do to make them happy again? Is there anyone they talk/interact with to get in a better mood?
Books. This is where I would worry I made Nick too much like myself, but I eat to feel happy and he’s not that concerned with food. But for Nick burying himself in a book and immersing himself in a fantasy world to get away from his problems in reality is exactly his style. Because Nick feels like he’s burdened his mom it is incredibly unlikely that he would confide in her. Often he keeps things to himself and locks them up, too worried about upsetting other people to share.
Have you read any books with disabled characters? What stuck out to you?
Or have you written about a disabled character before? I would love to hear about them!