Are your characters based on people you know, even a little bit?

Don’t know about you, but my family, friends and acquaintances are interesting, complex and sometimes downright strange enough to make wonderful characters. How about yours?

Most writers say their characters come from pure imagination, but I wonder, since  seeing those traits in others is what has interested you in the first place. So when creating characters, isn’t your experience with people going to be at least the starting point?

When you think about something that would make a character really unusual or interesting, where has that information come from? Is it from life or from imagination? Is that fantastic trait you came up with a combination of the two? What made you think of that characteristic?

We all know that well-drawn characters hook the reader in and make them want to know more.We know that a good character can sometimes carry a mediocre story, but the combination of a good story line and outstanding characters can be a winning combination. So where do you find these ‘Pilgrims’ complete with all the warts?

The fiction characters we remember are ones the author breathed life into for us. But as we are admiring this writer’s skill, are we not sometimes comparing that person to a real life person we know? Such as wow, that sounds just like Uncle John or maybe we even see truths about ourselves when observing this character.

I know that the first thing that interests me when reading is how they portrayed a character. I am hoping if I ever get to the point of trying to actually write fiction, that I will be able to add characters that make the reader happy, sad, laugh or cry. I am hoping for a reader who is in absolute awe of the person I created and even feels they are learning something about life or human nature from this imaginary person inserted into a story.

Writers,authors, please share your experiences with character formation. Please give us novices a hint at where you find them whether family or your own fertile mind. We all need to share the things we know so as to help the beginner learn the ropes. Even though we learn by overcoming challenges, it is so helpful to have our expert fellow creators offer their opinions and hints.


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