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:~: Tuesday, August 07, 2007 :~:

How Much Are Your Characters Like You?

Sorry to post late again this week. I just picked up a part time job and have to start training, so things in the past few days have been a little hectic. ;)

I'm reading a book right now by an author I've known for a few years. We used to be critique partners, but have sort of fallen out of touch lately. The book is great, but one thing I'm noticing is that the heroine is a lot like her, right down to looks, family details and the name of her pet. At times, I'm finding it a little distracting, since I'm having trouble thinking of the heroine as a fictional character.

This got me thinking about my own writing, and how similar my characters might be to me. Most of them are from New England, since that's where I've lived for most of my life and the place I know best. A lot of them share my hobbies, but since my hobbies are reading and cooking those are probably pretty common interests. ;) I don't usually go for men with blond hair, so most of my heroines don't, either. And coffee...I drink a lot of it, and I'm starting to notice I have at least one coffee drinking scene in every book.

There are differences too, though. I don't drink alcohol, but a lot of my heroines do. Their jobs tend to be varied, and I don't have many in the health care field like I used to be. Most of them like bad boys, and though I like to read about bad boys in books, they're really not my type.

I do have one heroine who's very similar to me. In The Whole Shebang, Lucy's story is a lot like my story...but the major details have mostly been changed. I found, while writing the book, that if she was too much like me I couldn't use her in the story. It would have been too much like writing an autobiography. ;)

Do you have characters that are similar to you? Do they share a lot of your hobbies and traits?


Blogger Carol B. said...

Well...sometimes. I do tend to have heroines who drink tea, no coffee. Guess what? Yup, I hate coffee. But I'm trying to branch out with my characters.

I think we tend to write what we know, but noticing trends will help us broaden those traits (I hope). Just like noticing a word or phrase we're stuck on is easily changed, so is this propensity.

I can relate to the book/real life person though. That would be distracting.

7:43 PM  
Blogger B.E. Sanderson said...

I think the deep parts of my good characters are essentially pulled from me, or who I want to be. The physical traits, not at all. Heroine #1 was black-haired and petite; #2 was a tall redhead. #3 is mousy and nondescript.

The non-essentials are sometimes my own - my first two books have characters who smoke, my first heroine drinks gin & tonics like me, my second heroine got some of my childhood experiences, the third is quiet and shy like I used to be. If I can use something from my own life, then I do. It's something I can write well, because I know it so well. But when I do, I have to watch I'm not throwing in characteristics that have nothing to do with the story.

2:46 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

There's always a little bit of me in each of my heroines. I invest so much of my time in them, I can't help but add in some of my likes and dislikes. :)

10:08 PM  
Blogger Elisa said...

Carol, very true on broadening the traits. It's sort of like broadening our own horizons through our characters.

B.E., I use life experiences sometimes, too. It can really help add extra emotion to the story, since it's something that comes from the heart.

Eli, I don't know about you, but I find there are some things I don't like that I can't see my characters ever liking, because I dislike them so strongly. ;)

3:55 AM  

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