So, as I decided to start writing horror fiction, I guess it was no surprise that a kid would be the main protagonist in my first (and subsequent) efforts. Not to be outdone by other writers, I ended up with multiple kid characters in my debut novel, Birth Offering. The main character is Ryan Perry, my hero and, if you take a look, the kid who is in frequent peril. So, he satisfies the youth as hero character – well actually he more than satisfies the youthful hero description (I ended up really liking this kid). On the other end of the divide – the creepy kid character – Birth Offering has not one but three creepy kids. These fit the supernatural end of the creepy-kid spectrum. One ghostly apparition and two “feral” kids who are a lot more than just feral. These two kids, Hugo and Max, are my favorite creations. While they do not have a tremendous amount of “page-time”, their presence is hinted at frequently, and their actions are downright ghastly. A review on Amazon called Max a “thoroughly unsettling portrait”. I am really pleased with this description – I really wanted to aim for something like this.
I really focused on trying to create credible youth characters in Birth Offering. In the case of my hero, Ryan Perry, this meant making him seem like a typical kid despite the fact that he constantly faced extraordinary circumstances. He had to be smart and brave enough to consider and engage in dangerous courses of action and be in great physical shape to endure some excruciating consequences of those actions. He had to be impulsive enough and, there is no kind way of saying it, immature enough to engage in some stupid courses of action and also whine about the consequences. He had to be inexperienced enough to be flustered by the presence of a pretty girl – enough so that he could completely lose sight of the fact that something supernatural is intent on killing him.
My task for creating Hugo and Max was not that much different. These kids were monsters, but their actions and their behaviors had to be tempered with those that made them look very much like 12 and 9 year old boys. There was the selfishness and sullenness that comes with a 12 year old that was incorporated into Hugo’s character, and the cuteness that defined Max. The grounded characteristics really provided an extreme contrast to the horrifying nature of their actions when the deeds become evident.