Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Inspiration from Real People

Today is one of those funny days where the vomit is in the trashcan, the poop is in the underwear and the pee is on the couch. Too much information, I know. Anywho, nothing a prayer for patience and some soupe à l'oignon won't fix!

So this post is going to be brief and pose this question: how much characterization can you take from real life? Is changing a name all you need to do and then you can put that person down on paper (at least your view of them)? That is what happened to the leading lady in Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore's hilarious, Music and Lyrics. Seeing a brutal sketch of herself in a bestselling novel threatened to ruin her life.

Can you maybe keep the name and the personality a bit, then change the tastes and physical appearance?

Should you just leave friends and family out of it?

What do you think? Would you be hurt to see yourself in a friend's novel?

I'm looking at this with two minor characters, a brother and sister, in my current work in progress, the Magicless. I think they have taken on their own personalities...I might still make some changes in the revision.

Be sure to come back tomorrow for my Wrap it Up Blogfest entry!!!


  1. Writers take inspiration from all around them, including from their friends and family. So I'd say that if you find people you know interesting, then definitely use what you know about them to help you develop realistic characters. I wouldn't copy paste people straight from real life, but you can still base characters on real people.

  2. I agree with Nick, what I do is look at a magazine and think what would my character like in this? Then I cut out those objects, clothes shoes, holidays-whatever. I then make a collage of the person, sometimes I'll write a brief biography of them. Its a fine balance between plot and character. Good luck!

  3. I think that's why writers are so creative, we take quirky traits of other people and instead of getting annoyed, we make characters with them.

  4. I'm with Nick, it's good to barrow tidbits, but you should steal a whole person :)