WRITING CHARACTERS - Max Booth Future Sleuth by Cameron Macintosh
Today I’m thrilled to welcome kidlit author Cameron Macintosh back to my blog, as part of his current Books on Tour book tour. Cameron is stopping by to introduce us to the two key characters from his book series, Max Booth Future Sleuth (the latest book, number 3 in the series, Stamp Safari, has just released), and provides some tips for writers looking to develop their own interesting characters.
Let’s find out more. Here’s Cameron…
Thanks for having me, Kellie!
When it comes to who I put into my books, it’s always a challenging task dreaming up fresh characters. I’m always trying to come up with characters that the reader will relate to and see themselves in, but who are also different enough to spike the reader’s curiosity. It’s all about trying to find a balance between uniqueness and universality in a way that will appeal to the readership you’re writing for.
Here are some details about the main characters you’ll meet in my Max Booth series, including in Stamp Safari:
Max Booth and his robo-dog Oscar are on the run! We have managed to obtain their secret ‘Wanted’ dossier from the Unclaimed Urchins Recapture Squad. If you see Max or Oscar on the street, tell them to hide – or run!
WANTED! Boy and Beagle-bot
The Unclaimed Urchins Recapture Squad has been on the hunt for Max Booth and his canine companion, Oscar B. Beagle-bot, for more than two years.
Both are crafty, quick-footed and unacceptably cheeky.
NAME: MAX BOOTH
DATE OF BIRTH: 22 June 2413 (current age 11 years)
PLACE OF BIRTH: Bluggsville South-South-East Maternity Hospital
HEIGHT: 150cm approx.
EYES: Dark brown and devious
HAIR: Medium brown, needs cutting!
OCCUPATION: Unknown, but he should be at school!
RIGHTFUL HOME: Skyburb 7 Home for Unclaimed Urchins
DATE OF ESCAPE: 13 March 2422
PARENTS: Yuko and Daniel Booth. Location unknown. Last confirmed sighting 13 January 2420
SPECIAL ABILITIES: None whatsoever. How he has managed to avoid capture for so long is a complete mystery!
SPECIAL INTERESTS: Believed to have special interest in artifacts from the 20th and 21st centuries. Why these primitive centuries would be of interest to anyone, we have no idea!
WANTED FOR: Unlawful Escape, and Extreme Cheekiness to Authorities
NAME: OSCAR B. BEAGLE-BOT
YEAR OF MANUFACTURE: 2421
SERIAL NUMBER: 4087958-9-299844-90-34BZZZ
PLACE OF MANUFACTURE: Bluggsville East-West Robotics Laboratory
MAKE: Beagle-bot 760B
MODEL: K-Pup 3220
SPECIAL ABILITIES: Telecommunications, Splinternet connectivity, built-in holographic projector, camera and 3D printer. Believed to display a high level of emotional intelligence.
SPECIAL INTERESTS: Believed to have an unusual preoccupation with robo-rats and other electronic rodents
WANTED FOR: Spurting Oil in Inappropriate Places, Assisting Escaped Urchin in Avoiding Recapture
Both assailants are dangerously impertinent. Please report any sightings immediately to Captain Selby, Chief Officer of the Unclaimed Urchins Recapture Squad!
If you’re looking for some inspiration to develop your own interesting characters, I’ve put together a few tips.
When I formulate my main characters for a story, I tend to ask a few recurring questions of them, to try to give them interest and depth. The biggest questions are:
· What does this character stand to gain or lose in the situation I’m putting them in? (Max and Oscar’s main concern is losing their freedom)
· What is their biggest short-term problem? (In Stamp Safari, it’s in identifying a postage stamp, and then in dealing with the trouble this discovery causes)
· How do they react under pressure? (Max gets craftier and cheekier, Oscar either gets sulky or takes incredible initiative, depending on the situation!)
· What do they fear most? (For orphanage escapees Max and Oscar, it’s being caught and returned to their dreaded former home)
When thinking up characters for a series, or for a longer story, I ask the same questions, and try to think a little more broadly, identifying character traits and problems that could keep coming back to haunt the characters. For example:
· What is the character’s biggest vulnerability?
· What is their most dangerous character flaw?
· Do they have a special ability, or particular area of fascination?
· What is their biggest long-term, existential problem? (In Max’s case, it’s in finding his missing parents, or at least solving the mystery of their disappearance)
· Are my characters representing the diversity of humanity, in terms of gender, age and ethnicity? This of course applies to one-off stories too.
Good luck with your character creations!
Thanks Cameron, that’s really helpful!
Want to learn more about Cameron’s newest Max Booth book? Here’s the lowdown:
MAX BOOTH FUTURE SLEUTH: STAMP SAFARI
Max is back. And in the third instalment of the action-packed Max Booth Future Sleuth series, published by Big Sky Publishing, Max and his robosidekick, Oscar, are ready to sharpen their super-sleuthing skills yet again.
A tiny piece of paper from the year 2019 might not sound very interesting to most people. But Max and Oscar – Bluggsville’s sharpest sleuths – aren’t most people! Max has a hunch that this ancient patch of paper might be valuable, and extremely rare.
Max is right – this isn’t just any old piece of paper. It’s a strange, sticky thing called a postage stamp, and it’s more than 400 years old! It’s an exciting discovery, but before long, it leads Max and Oscar into some very sticky situations…