Character Insight 'Kids With Guns' Blog #3

This is the continuation of the Kids With Guns series character development. I’m continuing to share why I write the characters I do in the series. It’s time to get to the nitty and gritty characters in the book series, are you ready? Here we go!


Sheila (Matthew’s mother)-Including the parents of the kids in a book series wasn’t in the plans. When I brainstormed my sessions, they were one of the last to be put into the series. Sheila has some personality traits that will make you go hmmmm. But I knew that writing this character would be necessary to the series. Her thoughts, feelings, what she’s feeling and going through since her son committed one of the worst crimes in the world. 


You’ll hear from her perspective from Part 2 of the series through Part 5 which is the case for all of the parents. Sheila is someone you’ll love or not, it’ll be one way or the other. 


Zachary (Matthew’s father)-Zach is a character where he seems like a good guy but you’ll soon find out he isn’t. I wrote it this way because I surely don’t want any of you readers liking the parents too much. It’s like the empathy will be there and then it dissipates quickly. 


Their children killed people and changed the landscape of their town, city, state and the entire country. Fathers are supposed to be a huge component to the development of their children. Let’s just say I wrote it in a way where you’ll question certain things. 


Rebecca (Max’s mother)-Max’s mother was written in a sense of naivety and you’ll learn that as the series progresses. Listening to her perspective from the shooting to the trial and the aftermath, it’s interesting. I wrote it this way intentionally and have you deciding one way or the other on whether you like her or not.


It’s challenging to write 4 books of hearing a parent’s thoughts of their child being on trial for murder and so many other crimes. It’s a rollercoaster ride of emotions and I can’t promise you, you’ll only feel one or two emotions because it’s rare I write books where you only feel one or two things honestly. 


Harry (Max’s father)-Another father figure who you’ll come to either not like or really can’t stand. Same thing right? Yeah, my exact sentiments and writing these characters that aren’t likeable is challenging. Robert was likeable, Gary was in between, Harry is a different story. 


I had to step up to the plate and write some thought provoking content and to get you to think about his mindset and why he did what he did with his child. Don’t say I didn’t warn you about the parents of these characters who committed the crime of the century. 


Peter (Former friend)-The funny thing about incorporating Peter into this series is how there are so many school shootings where the kids had no friends. It’s always been an interesting thing that has circulated my mind for the longest time. 

When I started writing out characters' names and their roles in the series, I wrote Peter’s name but I honestly didn’t have a role for him. Then I decided to make him a former friend and write a story from his perspective. Funny how things happen and how random thoughts come to you and you’re able to turn it into a solid storyline. 


There was a challenge of how I would write him in this series and how many books he would be in. To be able to write his perspective for 4 books was fulfilling. Sometimes you can run out of content with certain characters but as I wrote the series, I started running with my thoughts and going with the flow with him.


Yes, you’ll learn why he became a former friend and his thoughts on everything that happened. It’s a good storyline that I hope you’ll enjoy. It’s fun to write characters like him and know that at the end of the day, he made the right decision to break off ties with Matthew and Max. 


Lisa (Matthew’s Ex-Girlfriend)-Lisa is another character I didn’t think of until I finalized everyone else. I felt there was a need to incorporate an ex-girlfriend and get her feelings on dating Matthew and what he’s like. Matthew is one of the most hated kids in America but there was a need to hear it from someone his age. 


I enjoyed writing Lisa because it was a different character, a different challenge and how I can write her into the series and she has an impact. I don’t like to just write characters just for the sake of it. They need to have an impact on the reader and get their minds chugging away at what she’s saying and why. 


To be able to write her for 4 books of the series like Peter, it felt good. It’s great to write characters that keep the story going and give you a person of reason but also of understanding. 


Matthew (Student/Shooter)-A lot of shooters killed themselves in the past but this story, I kept them alive. I needed people to hear things from their perspective. I wrote them into the ending of Book 2 for a reason. I wanted to introduce everyone else into the series who will play a significant role. 


Matthew is the most hated kid in the country and for good reason. I knew writing him in 4 books of the series would be a huge challenge. Each book, he has his thoughts and feelings and you’ll understand his maniacal mind. 


What is there to love about a kid who commits a horrible crime that impacts hundreds? Well….not much. You’ll start to see his evil, demented, head honcho mindset and know he’s the ring leader in all of this but there’s more exposed throughout this series that you’ll find out when you read it. 


Max (Student/Shooter)-Max doesn’t really have a mind of his own. He’s a follower and wants to be liked but has a weird personality that not many take a liking to except for Matthew. That’s the sum of his story without giving away too much and while he’s a hated kid for what he did, you’ll start to understand a lot of things about school shootings. 


For me, I wrote Max from a perspective of you feeling bad for him but then you really don’t. More of a mixed emotions mindset while reading about him, his story, his parents, upbringing and plenty of other things. He becomes someone you love to hate. 


The series has its share of things you’ll start to realize and Max shares his various perspectives. Don’t doubt that Max isn’t smart because he is and he knows what he did was horrible, wrong and defying the masses of the world. Just know that eventually, the whole story makes sense and if you pay attention intently, you’ll learn the realities of school shootings from Matthew and Max’s perspective.


Another blog on the 'Kids With Guns' series, stay tuned for the final blog of character insight! Be good everyone and go accomplish your goals!


Jamell Crouthers


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