Character Building– “Any likeness to real people is unintentional” (cough)

I personally think writers portrayed on television get a bad rep.  They make us look like melodramatic fools.  When writers talk about their books/characters, they always name them with something that rhymes with the name of someone they know.

Confession: I have only ever once done the name tweak, and that’s because the story was actually based on fact.  It was a personal story, so it helped to keep the first letters of the names the same rather than severing my connection to it.  But really, should writers be preserving that personal connection when writing fiction?  I also don’t take real people and wrap them up in different clothing to put in a book.  I might take one feature, like a name, occupation, or hobby, but never the entire personality.

Whenever people I work with find out I’m a writer, they worry that I’m going to write a tell-all book about my crazy co-workers.  Yeah, not that kind of writer.

However, I have a few friends who actually want me to put them in a book.  I even had one book brainstormed in which I would put all my friends as characters (in spirit only, not in name rhyming, personality, or bio).  Too bad it’s fizzled out…I’ll have to find a new home for these imaginary doppelgangers.

What about other writers out there?  Do you draw from real people?  Anyone begging to be immortalized in your next work?

2 comments on “Character Building– “Any likeness to real people is unintentional” (cough)

  1. Susan A. says:

    I haven’t published a book, but I write a lot of stories. Some may become books someday, but for now are just something I do for my own enjoyment. Once in awhile, a story idea hits me so hard that I spend the next fifteen or sixteen hours writing (usually I did a ton of research before that, but eventually got impatient to put the words on paper). He is totally blown away by my ability to keep writing for so long. Then, because he feels neglected, he wants to be the hero in one of my books. I love him, I really do, but he doesn’t exactly fit the romance novel kind of hero. He is way too sweet, funny, and considerate.

    In my fantasy world, the guys are tough, complex, and take time to get to the heart of them. I wouldn’t really want to marry a guy like that, but my fantasies are just that. They are something we normally wouldn’t look for except in the darkest recesses of our mind (okay, maybe not that far but you know what I mean). In real life, I have the man I want. I’m still not going to write about him no matter how much he begs, lol. Not unless it is the actual biography of our love story which actually always gets people curious since it has excitement, despair, international intrigue, governments conspiring against us, etc (I was in the US Army and he is Iraqi). Anyhow, that one is a long way from being written until the dust settles more.

    Nice blog and good questions!

    • Thanks for commenting! Oh yes, isn’t that writing high amazing? Not so good on the back, though, sitting at the computer all day.

      You’re right, there’s not much point writing out what we already have, especially if it’s positive. It’s the dark, tragic autobio stuff I think we write as part of our emotional processing and healing. I hope you get to write that story someday.

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