If you are writing YA and you'd like to breathe life into a badass character, pay attention to Margo Roth Spiegelman, who breathes life into John Green's Paper Towns.
Marvel, if you will, at the badassery of Margo's inciting incident entrance and speech. Be on the lookout for Green's expert sprinkling of the story spices of humor, action, intrigue, imagery, desire and conflict:
I swiveled around when I heard the window open, and Margo's blue eyes were staring back at me. Her eyes were all I could see at first, but as my vision adjusted, I realized she was wearing black face paint and a black hoodie. "Are you having cybersex?" she asked.
When I let my sight unfocus, she became nothing but eyes, floating in the ether. And then I locked back on her, and I could see the outline of her face, the paint still wet against her skin. Her cheekbones triangulating into her chin, her pitch-black lips barely turned to a smile. "Any felonies?" I asked.
I don't know about you, but Margo's badass antics make me want to assist in the planning of some kind of non-felonious heist – or at least write about one. Here's what I noticed in this most excellent passage:
Write scenes like this to solve at least 11 problems in one fell swoop.
Now you know. Go forth and bring on the badass!
Writer, reader, runner, teacher, father, infp, huffleclaw.