Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#52) -- Real People as Fictional Characters

Are your characters based on people you know?

You don't know these people. Or do you?
Perhaps you've met them in my work.
If you're asking if any of my characters are lock,stock and barrel copied from a living person, then no.

But if you asking if personalities and character quirks find their way from people I know and meet into my stories, then a thousand times, yes.

A case in point... I used to work with a girl named Missy on a magazine staff. Well, Missy and I worked pretty close together through a lot of the process of assembling the magazine for print, and I noticed after a while that just before she laughed, she'd usually bite down (gently of course) on the tip of her tongue. I thought that such a unique trait that I've used it for at least three of my female characters across my stories, though none in the same genre.


I am finding more and more that the longer I write, the fictional people I know tend to become more real to me than the flesh and blood people I know. So what I have to be careful about now isn't so much reusing real traits and personality quirks from live people as it is to not reproducing my same fictional characters over and over again instead.