The main character in my YA manuscript DWARFED, is a Grace Sullivan, who happens to be one of my favorite characters that I’ve ever created. I love how spunky, intelligent, and independent she is. Yes, she’s a dwarf, and that does add some complications to her life, but as far as she’s concerned, it’s just a physical trait, the same as her red hair, blue eyes, bowed legs, and freckles. What she can’t understand is why her height seems to be so important to everyone else.
I had no choice but to write about Grace, no sooner did my imagination conjure up a vague impression of this lively teenager, than she proceeded to start beating at the inside of my skull, insisting I start getting her down on paper. I’m so glad I did. Even though I was shorter than most of my classmates (an unexpected growth spurt in high school shot me from 4’10” to 5’5”) I didn’t face nearly the challenges that Grace did. In order to do her justice, I’ve spent an incredible amount of time researching and learning about a truly interesting culture, something I might not have ever done had it not been for my decision to write DWARFED. While I really want to see DWARFED get published, and hopefully sell gazillions of copies, I can honestly say that writing it and researching it has made me a better person.
What about the rest of you writers. How have the characters you’ve created changed you?