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?