Playing With Fire (#Hacker Series #1)
Release Date 10/27/2015
Clean Teen Publishing
One brilliant young hacker.
One experimental government aircraft.
One chance to keep it all from going up in flames.
Still recovering from her troubled past, Farris is no stranger to change. But when the military transfers her father across the country to an experimental aircraft squadron, settling in to a new life is the least of her problems. As a series of apparent computer glitches threaten the security of the fleet and the blame falls on her father, she decides to put her computer skills to use digging up the truth. Soon she's drawn into the perilous world of a hacker who is determined to ground the fleet--at any cost.
When all signs lead to someone close to her as the mastermind, Farris will have to burn more than bridges to get to the truth. She will have to risk her fragile new life to uncover the identity of the cyber criminal before they can escalate from harmless tampering... to all out murder.
Character Development: How do you make your characters believable?
Making a character real to readers is just a matter of showing them in their glory and flaws, in the good and bad. It’s tempting to make your good guy ‘good’ and your bad guy ‘bad’, but in real life it’s rarely that simple. If your MC makes sacrifices just because it’s for the greater good, that’s hard to swallow sometimes. Conflict is key. Conflict and pain seem to be the best, most humanizing ways to make a character relatable to a reader. Put them in pain, real pain, and watch them grow and change, for the better or worse. Because that’s what happens to us in real life, it’s something that resonates with people on a very basic level. Pain and love. Love is also transformative, though it’s also a lot harder to do well because love, on its own, is rarely satisfying.
I’m sure that sounds odd. But a friend once told me, consummation is boring. Having what you want and being happy and content is great in real life, but for some reason it makes for a very dull character. Pain should be the trial, and love the reward.
Before you go into a story, it helps to understand each of the Main Characters. Where they are from, how they were raised, their friendships and traumas, their victories and losses. I have notebooks full of character back stories that will never make it into a book, stuff I use to understand how they would react to any given situation, and why. What is the character most proud of, and on the opposite end, what is their greatest shame? You have to be able to answer those questions before you ever put pen to paper, so to speak.
Another great way to let readers discover your character is by putting them in a setting, and letting their reaction to that setting explain something about the character. When faced with a catastrophic situation, how does the character react, and what does that reaction say about them?
I will also caution about creating characters that are too strong. That can be another disconnect for the reader. A character who gets in a bar fight and walks away without a scratch, or who sees his family murdered and just goes about his life as usual, that is inhuman, and will suck the authenticity right out of a character.
My best advice is to immerse yourself in the character, how they dress, how they walk, how they talk. Really get into their skin before you write them. When I am writing Farris from the #HACKER books, I will dress more like she does, speak more like she does (basically I develop a serious potty mouth), and I find myself more in tune with her character that way, so it becomes much easier to write her as if she were a real person, because inside my head, she is.