Writing YA: Who are your characters?

Your characters are the most important part of your novel. It’ll be them that your readers fall in love with, want for their BFFs and rally for. But how do you create those characters?

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The Basics

Who is your protagonist? What do they like? What do they want?

These are essential questions for the person that will carry your story. Some authors write fulls bios, some a profile and some just jump in and see what happens and then go back and fill them out.

But if you need something to go on, these questionnaires from Gotham Writers Workshop are fantastic for delving into your protagonists.


Supporting Characters

Your protagonist isn’t the only essential character in your story, however. The people around them need to shine too!

If you’re struggling to get to know your main character’s best friend. their sister, their bully, why not write something in their voice? Don’t plan, just dive in and see what happens! They might surprise you…



Whoever the character, whatever their function, they all need agency. There needs to be an endgame for them. Are they: trying to find something? Trying to stop something?Trying to get away from something? Trying to get somewhere?

What’s pushing them forward?


Good luck!

Words of encouragement from Twitter:

How do you develop your characters? Let us know at @maximumpopbooks!

Previous Posts

Writing YA: An Introduction
Writing YA: What’s your genre?
Writing YA: Tropes and Cliches
Writing YA: Are you a planner or a pantser?
Writing YA: Apps and Tools

Coming up!

Writing YA: Essential Reading for Writers
Writing YA: Prepping for Publishing

And more!

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Written by Sophie Waters

Sophie is the Head of Commercial at Maximum Pop! Having studied English Lit and Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, she came to MP! to satisfy her passion for books. Sophie is a diehard Hufflepuff and feminist. She's also a huge cat lover, and can often be found rocking her socks off at a gig.

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