Written by Talen Williams
Although it took me about five months to write, Suburban High, however, wasn’t something that was dreamed up overnight. In fact, it was an idea I’ve had since I was in high school myself, from 1999-2013, you know the good times (Citation Needed).
Slowly, and I mean very slowly, but surely, I created each character in the story, giving them personality traits and backgrounds, you know, character development. Funny enough, the first character I came up with wasn’t the book’s protagonist, William Moon. It was in fact, Robert Stanley. Readers can easily identify Rob as a stereotype. But to understand Rob’s origin, you have to remember that I went to school at a time where that was a influx of white kids from the suburbs pretending to be black kids from the hood. This was mainly due to music artists such as Eminem, Kid Rock, and Insane Clown Posse becoming more and more mainstream.
FUN FACT: At the time of his creation, Rob was actually named “White Rob” which was inspired by Bad Boy recording artist Black Rob. When asked why I called him that, I’d answer, “Because he thinks his s***’s like WHOA!”
Ultimately, Rob is what is known as a “Flat Character.” According to Fiction Writer’s Workshop by Jospip Novakovich:
Flat characters have few traits, all of them predictable, none creating genuine conflicts. Flat characters often boil down to stereotypes.
According Fiction Writer’s Workshop, Rob’s purpose as a character is to use his nature as a stereotypical character to provide humor to a less-than-funny situation, as he does a few times in the book. While that may seem as a negative, it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Flat characters can play a role in the further development of round characters. More often than not, Rob’s words alone actually play a part in forming William Moon as a more rounded character:
“Shoot man, I was just testing you. Seeing if you was legit, or if you was just some geek off the streets pretending to be hood. Appearances ain’t everything around here, homie. Remember that.”
I believe that flat characters do have a role in a story bigger than just using their prefabricated traits to add humor to a situation if used properly. But they don’t have to. I think it’s important to set each character’s role as you write. Not all characters can be as fully fleshed out as the round ones, who play a larger role in the overall story, especially if there are a lot of them. But, in future installments of Suburban High, I can always develop Rob’s character a bit more, and I’m sure critics and fans alike will want me to.
Only time, and reviews on Amazon will tell..