Wednesday, October 2, 2013

IWSG, Character

Welcome to the October 2013 edition of the Insecure Writers Support Group, (IWSG). Alex J. Cavanaugh is the founder extraordinaire.

For this edition I've decided to write about characters. Mainly because I've been thinking about them a lot lately. What inspires you, what makes you create a character? Do you base it on people you know? On yourself? What do you admire? What do you detest?

I have many writer friends who base all their main characters on people they know and on themselves. There is nothing wrong with that, but you'd better be careful in case one or more of those folks gets it into their heads to interfere in some way with your writing. We are talking dangerous ground here.

In writing fantasy I often use a quest plot, the description of my worlds are based on this world, dialogue is no longer a challenge for me after more than twenty years experience. So what surprises me? It is always character. They invade my life and demand I tell their story which isn't always good for the manuscript I'm working on.

Back to people you know. With permission I'm going to tell you a little about my friend.

She is an optimist. As a child she was verbally abused and saw her father beat her mother and sister. This trauma caused her to gain weight and gave her a debilitating fear of boys, and men even thought she had an older brother she loved. She has close to zero self confidence and is horribly shy. When she did marry, the man she married continued with verbal abuse. She never left him because she didn't make enough money to support herself and her children and refused to abandon the children.

That's enough information. Given what I just told you, would you use her in a book? Would she be a villain, a hero or a minor character who troubles the hero? What character strengths and/or flaws would  you incorporate into your story?

Hope this gave you some food for thought, to coin a phrase. Ugh, two cliches in one sentence.
Copyright 2013

To read other IWSG post go here.

I am participating in two Halloween bloghops. One on Oct. 30 and the other Oct. 31, 2013. The beauty is that one story will serve both bloghops. To learn more or sign up and participate click on the links below.

Denise Covey at Write...Edit...Publish is hosting Haunting.

October. 30, 2013

Francine Howarth is hosting Trick or Treat Hallowe'en, There will be treats with this one.

October 31, 2013

Hope to see some of you or all of you.


Kay L. Davies said...

Two clichés in one sentence is fun, when you know you've done it. LOL
I haven't written much fiction, but I did write a book in the 80s. It reached the phone-call-from-the-publisher stage, but was eventually turned down because my secondary characters were too overpowering. I had written too much of myself into the heroine's best friend.
So, a word to the wise from a failed author...don't do what I did. If this helps any of your blog readers, I'm happy.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

None of my characters are based on real people or myself.
Considering the genre I write and my style, she would be a difficult character to fit into a story.

Tammy Theriault said...

i could see her as being a friend described from the MC, just my thoughts on that.

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Kay
I don't write about myself or about friends. Though I will admit, I do barrow from my personality a little, but not 100%.

Hi Alex
I agree, she is a tough one.

Hi Tammy
I think she would make a good friend.

Thank you all for stopping by and leaving a comment. I'll be by in a little while.


Southpaw said...

Cliche it up, baby! This is the one place you can get away with it.

I have used real people I known throughout the years. I blend them with others with similar personalities.

Diane Burton said...

My characters all have a little bit of me in them--more of my dreams and aspirations or how I wish I was. Then my characters take on a life of their own and end up their own "person".

Lexa Cain said...

I probably wouldn't use the whole characterization for one of my books because I cater to younger readers (not married-with-kids readers). Thanks for the links to the blog hops. That looks like fun. Have a lovely weekend! :-)

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Holly
I love the blended character theme.

Hi Diane
I think we all sick a bit of ourselves into the main characters though we may not realize it. In the end, they turn out the way they need to be.

Hi Lex
Younger is good. You're welcome to the bloghop links.

Thanks everyone for coming by.

Emma Adams said...

I don't really know where my characters come from - they're like combinations of different character traits from different people, and usually have part of me in them, too. I enjoy creating eccentric characters with interesting viewpoints.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I know some writers to that, but I never do. My characters are all out of my imagination. I would hate for a friend to see myself in one of my books.

ilima said...

I've only based one of my characters on someone I know--my husband. I've become so attached to this character, I don't think I can do that again, lol.

--Ilima Todd (IWSG co-host)

Mel Chesley said...

I do base some of my characters on people I know. However, I LOVE character development and lots of my characters are of my own making. While I do find bits and pieces of me in some of my characters, well, that tends to happen. But it usually isn't a bad thing. :D

Julia King said...

My characters are based on no one really. If anything they are based on little bits of me peppered here and there.
Although, I do have a story brewing in my mind that is based off of a relationship in my life. However, it will be all about the characters and who they are.

If I were to use your friend's story, it may be only a snippet here and there to build the character from small experiences. Not here story as a whole. But that's just me.

Great post!

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Emma
Combining is a good thing.

Hi Susan
I'm with you. I like to invent characters.

Hi Ilima
Oh the conflict! I don't think I'd base a character after my husband.

Hi Mel
I don't thin we can help sticking a little of ourselves into the story.

Hi Julia
I agree. Backstory is difficult to handle and little bits at a time is a good idea.

Thanks everyone for stopping by.

Kelly Steel said...

Maybe I will take part of her traits and use it for a minor character.

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Kelly
I just noticed you. My apologies.