Tips for Creating a High Stakes Character

Creating a Character Who Matters

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When my daughter entered high school, she joined theater, but not to act; she wanted to work behind the scenes and create costumes. This was an interesting job because she quickly found out two things. The first was that actors are actors, no matter if they are in Hollywood or in high school, and they grow big egos. She was treated like the hired help by many of them. Her job was not as important as theirs, in their opinion. But the second thing she found out was that it was a great position to get to know everyone. They all had to get fitted, measured, and interact with my daughter. And thankfully, she made some good friends.

One friend was a girl whose mother owns a pawn shop here in town. The two became good friends through the years and hung out together even outside of theater. The girl’s older brother was also in theater, and I ended up having him as a student in my English class when he moved on to college.

Although, I’d never met the parents, I cared about these two kids a lot. One had been to my home many times for parties and get-togethers, the other I saw twice a week in my classroom.

One day, the pawn shop was robbed at gunpoint, and these kids’ mother was shot. She was rushed to the hospital, and thankfully survived. But when we all found out, we were horrified and worried about the family.

I was especially worried about the kids. They needed their mother. My student had to clean up the mess left behind, fill in at the pawn shop while his mother recovered, and live with the fear of what might have happened and could happen again.

The question is why did I care?

Crime happens every day. Our small town has been relatively safe for years, though that’s been changing recently. But in Los Angeles and the related suburbs, we hear about terrible crimes every day on the news. And most of the victims do not survive. And yet, I usually turn off the TV or news and though I think it’s terrible and have strong feelings about the ineptitude of those running the city of Los Angles, I move on with my day and do not think of the news segment again.

The reason I cared about the pawn shop incident is obvious, I personally knew…



Julia Amante - Fiction author, Speaker, Mentor.