One thing I've always been inspired by is that group of friends, whether they were close to begin with or learn to be close. There are no frenemies which seem to be popular these days. They genuinely like each other, care for each other and fight together. They're bound by what they know of their oddly paranormal town. I'd love to see more of it in YA.
My favourite examples:
Buffy came into Sunnydale high with no intent to be the popular chick, although she missed her prom
queen days a lot. She knew having friends meant they would be harmed and she couldn't save a town and look after people who didn't have her skills. But she met Xander and Willow and straight away they promised to help her out, unable to turn their backs on what they had seen. Seven seasons later and they're wandering down the corridors of their old high school, holding hands and wordlessly saying goodbye to each other in case this potential apocalypse was in deed their last. Throughout those seasons they dealt with supernatural situations, loss, broken friendships, and being harassed at school. They were all there for each other when a character took a turn for the worse.
Cas, Carmel, and Thomas
Cas met Thomas and Carmel on his investigation into the infamous ghost Anna Dressed in Blood. They were useful, had information but Cas never really intended to befriend them. Think again, Cas. Think again. While he wasn't used to having friends Cas learnt that a couple of people having your back wasn't necessarily a bad thing. The both of them were very brave teenagers who were ready to step in and assist Cas in preventing Anna to kill again. Carmel lost friends but she still stuck. I loved this trio. In a way they reminded me of Buffy and her friends.
The Spooksville Gang (Christopher Pike)
This gang of pre-teens lived in an uber-creepy American town which might as well have been another Hellmouth. One by one they met each other and discovered that there was more to their strange little town than a rumoured witch. The two female characters argued like mad but all in all they cared for each other and when one of their group were in danger of being lost to them, whether dead or turned into some strange creature they were determined to get them back.
My projects generally tend to have quite a few main characters, usually a group of friends. It's just what I love seeing: teenagers who care for each other rather than being at each others throats or just not getting on. When you have that close knit group, interesting developments arise. :)
Has anything inspired your choice of characters?