I first approached Jacqueline when she was searching for bloggers to take part in her blog tour for Wunderkids. I quickly read the synopsis and asked if I could be a part of it. The premise intrigued me so much that I just had to read the book! So for today’s post I have teamed up with Jacqueline and she is going to give you her top tips for writing character back stories and I will be giving my top 5 reasons why Wunderkids needs to be your next read. So here is synopsis for you to browse, warning though, once you read this, you WILL want to get your hands on the book IMMEDIATELY.
15-year-old Nikka is invited to attend Wildwood Academy, a prestigious but secret boarding school for talented youth located deep in the Californian mountains. Once there, Nikka quickly falls in love with her bizarre classes, the jaw-dropping scenery and… two very different boys. However, Wildwood Academy has a dark and twisted secret, one that could cost Nikka the one thing she had never imagined she could lose, the one thing that money can’t buy. It is this very thing that Wildwood Academy was created to steal. Nikka can stay and lose everything, or she can risk death and run.
Here are my top 5 reasons why Wunderkids needs to be your next read:
1# Brilliant character development and back story.
This was the first thing that got me with this book. Nikka’s story interested me so much because it’s basically the polar opposite of my life. Displacement is a theme that runs heavily throughout the book but it’s done in a very intelligent way, and it’s certainly not overdone. There is not one character in this book that has not been well thought out, and I love that.
2# Boarding School. BOARDING SCHOOL!
Only so let’s be honest here. I have not read any other books set in boarding school other than Harry Potter, so I was immediately intrigued. It could have gone one of two ways; it could have been a total disaster or it could have been a wonderful thing. Thankfully it was the latter. The setting of the boarding school allows the reader to better get to know the characters better.
3# There’s just a little bit of romance.
This could possibly be an unpopular opinion, but I really really dislike romance in books. I have read one romance novel in my life, and it was the last. Wunderkids however does have a little bit of romance in it, with Nikka finding herself in a position where two boys show a romantic interest in her. What I love about it that it is not over done, and does not overshadow the prominent themes of the book.
4# It has the perfect amount of dark.
I was not expecting so much darkness in this book, and the plot twist is actually pretty grim when you think about it for too long. I will say that I love dark books, and this had the perfect amount of dark for me. It also has the perfect amount of distopia in it. Wunderkids is slightly reminiscent of 1984 by George Orwell for me, which is a huge compliment because 1984 is one of my favourite books of all time.
5# Wunderkids is brilliantly written.
The quality of writing is amazing and it really makes for an easy reading experience, which is perfect for children in the younger teen ages. While it would be perfect for the aforementioned age groups, I as an adult, love it all the same. Her writing is equal parts captivating and intriguing.
And now I’m going to hand you over to the lovely Jacqueline for her tip 5 tips for writing character back stories!
Thank you so much for these kind words.
So, for this post I would like to share with you my five tips and tricks for creating character backstories. It’s very important to know your character backstories before you begin writing, that way you can avoid plot holes and writing yourself into a corner. Backstory is very important because the events in a character’s past would have shaped their beliefs, personality and worldviews.
#1 chart their life
Draw a line on a piece of paper. This line is your character’s life. Decide where they were born, where they have lived and which significant events occurred throughout their life and when. Add all of that info to the timeline you just drew. If your character is 17 years old, draw a line with 17 notches on it and try to add significant life events next to the notch that represents the year when they occurred. Create one drawing like this for each character and keep adding stuff to the timeline while you draft. This will help you create more realistic backstories.
#2 Draw family trees
Draw a three-generation family tree for each one of your main characters. Give their relatives names and write down a few facts about each one. Family shapes us just as much as life events do, drawing a family tree is a really great way to getting to know where your character came from and how that may have impacted their personality.
#3 Create a lot of backstory but only use the most important bits
A backstory is like an iceberg. At the top you have the bit of backstory that you are going to reveal to the reader. Beneath the surface, you have a whole lot more information; the purpose of the deeper layers is for you to understand your own characters better. That will help you with crafting dialogue and designing their behavior. Tip- take all the backstory you have created and put it in two categories, ‘to be featured in the book,’ and ‘not featured.’
#4 imagine your character on a first date
A first date is like an intro 101 class to another person. Imagine your character on a date and try to write down the scene unfolding in your head. Imagine your character telling their date about their past. What would they say? Which anecdotes would they choose to divulge and why? It’s a fun exercise and you will be surprised by how much you can learn about your character just by imagining one scene.
#5 write a list of 20 things your character loves, and 20 things they hate
Write the whole list instinctively first. Deep down you know these characters; you created them. When you’re done with the list, challenge yourself to explain each like and dislike. Do they hate celery because their stepdad used it in all his recipes? Do they like a certain film because they used to watch it every Christmas morning? You can also make a list of twenty things they fear and try to explain each one. Not all of this information will make it into your manuscript, but it’s good to keep it on hand for reference.
I hope you found this list helpful.
And there we have it my lovelies! The Tomes with Tea stop of the Wunderkids blog tour. You’ve probably already guessed how much I loved this book from the above gushing, but I really do suggest picking up a copy for yourself because my words will never do it justice. I want to say thank you again to Jacqueline for allowing me to participate in the tour and for sharing her tips for writing character back stories. Make sure you check out the rest of the stops on the tour and pick up your copy of Wunderkids here.
Peace and pages