Now, I'm creating patterns of behavior - not simply why Alexander would act or react in a certain way, but why he would at that particular moment in time.
I recall, when I was about Alexander's age, coming back to school from a particular weekend early in seventh grade and discovering that several kids had gotten in trouble - with parents, police or even store-owners - on that same weekend (including myself, but I'll save that for a future story!). Adults would say that it's kids "going through a phase." Even then, I was fascinated with the coincidence of so many of us going through similar drama at the same time.
At that time, of course, I couldn't see the bigger picture: how each kid responded to the experience. For an almost infinite combination of factors, some kids might learn from their mistakes, other kids might be emboldened by the excitement and move on to other risky behavior, while others might be utterly unmoved by the minor bump in the road.
The second book, which finds Alexander reacting to the humiliation of being the unwanted star of a viral video, is all about patterns - of friendship, family and finding some sense of who we are. I'm both moving the character ahead, but keeping him consistent - and, hopefully, making it all believable and entertaining.
Alexander may grow and learn, but at the same time, his personality is already in place.
There's a quote, ascribed to St. Francis Xavier, that summarizes it well:
Give me a child until he is seven, and I will give you the man.
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