Developing Characters for a Middle Reader Book

We’ll go back to our public speaking questions in a couple of weeks. Today, I want to introduce you to YA author Cheryl Martin and her ability to craft strong characters.

As I said before, flat characters leap from the page when they are infused with bits and pieces of the writer’s past experiences. But how does a writer do that? Whether you’re writing for adults or children, you’re characters will take on a deeper dimension if you apply Cheryl’s tips.

Thanks for stopping by, Cheryl. Tell us how you developed a whole cast of memorable characters in your new release PINEAPPLES IN PERIL.

Author Cheryl Martin

Do you recall what it was like to be 10-16 years old? What kinds of things made you excited, angry, challenged or confused? How did you relate to siblings and parents? 

These are the questions I consider when developing characters for The Hawaiian Island Detective Club. It’s sometimes hard to think back to those days (oh so long ago!) but there are always memories that stand out. I use them to deepen my characters’ personalities. 

When I can’t come up with just the right attribute, I take a look at my own kids—they never fail to give me ideas. Although grown, they’re still siblings with all the normal frivolity, angst and annoying behaviors. Recollections from their younger years? Oh my! 

Cheryl’s kids and her inspiration.

As a kid, what kind of trouble did you get into, and how did you worm your way out? What were your thoughts and reactions, and did you blame someone else for your misdeeds? Ahh, yes, the memories flood your mind. 

Now it’s time to give voice to the characters. Choosing words can be challenging, as they’re not adults, yet not little kids either. Does my ten-year-old sound six-years-old, or the young teen too mature? 

Combine the personalities with intriguing scenarios and interesting settings, and—VOILA!—a unique and entertaining Middle Reader book.

Check out the adorable characters in Cheryl’s newly released book PINEAPPLES IN PERIL or visit her website

About lynnegentry

Wife. Mother. Writer. Acting Coach. Director of Dallas International Performing Arts Academy.
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8 Responses to Developing Characters for a Middle Reader Book

  1. I can attest to this author’s ability to bring fun stories to this age group. I was one of the lucky ones to get a pre-release copy from her publisher and can’t wait until my own grandson is old enough for her wonderful work!

  2. Janice Olson says:

    Cheryl, made me remember all those days of in between — not quite a child, not quite an adult, just hanging somewhere in the middle and not knowing where I fit in. Yet now I realize, they were the simpler times. Great success on you books, Sounds like it will be a fun read.

    • Thank you for visiting and your encouraging comments, Janice! Yes, I not only remember those days, but I often times think I’m still living in those days–not quite an adult yet! Aloha! –Cheryl

  3. Julie Garmon says:

    Looks like such a fun book to read. And the pineapple on the cover’s making my mouth water. Hey, Cheryl! I remember meeting you maybe a year ago (?) at ACFW. Congrats on your success, my friend!! Blessings to you.

    • Yes, Julie! I totally remember you. Thanks so much for visiting Lynne’s blog and commenting. I appreciate your support–and hope to see you again at some conference somewhere! Aloha! –Cheryl

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