I have heard quite a few people ask about where writers’ characters come from. I cannot speak for everyone, of course, but I can certainly tell you about mine.
Yes, my characters are derived from people I know, though not precisely how you might think. Since I began reading I’ve found myself observing people. Little things, like how they slide their glasses up their nose, how they curve their hair behind their ear, facial expressions, body language, habitual ticks, etc.
Observing body language is easy, as is putting small ticks or habits into a character profile. What isn’t so simple is creating a character’s whole personality from nothing. Who are they? What do they like? What makes them angry? What makes them uncomfortable? What about them makes others angry? For this information, I look to my own life.
I have had the opportunity to know many people with differing personalities, both those who are easy going, fun-loving individuals, and those whose every word pushes your buttons.
Both types of people – and everyone in-between – are essential to us. They allow us to grow, to get to know ourselves better, and to learn. Now, I’m not saying that each of my characters is a representation of one of my family members or acquaintances, but each of them most definitely carries a personality trait of someone I know.
There is a little bit of me in each of my heroines. Something I like, something I don’t like, or thoughts I’ve had about myself, they’re in my heroines. Some things that irritate me about the men in my life, they’re in my heroes and side characters. That high school gossip? Yes, she’s a side character. The bothersome things my brother has said/done to me? Yes, they’re in my books.
Every time someone has done or said something that hurt my feelings or made me angry since I began writing, it has been added into the plot of one of my novels. No, not every one of them has been “killed off”. In fact, for the majority of them I’ve done quite the opposite. I redeem them. I have them realize the error of their ways and turn themselves about. Well… either that, or I have them mysteriously disappear.
This is just another reason why I believe that writing is a cathartic release for me. Everything happens how I want them to. It feels good.
Thank you for reading! Happy Monday, everyone!