A Question for Fiction Writers

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Howdy, writers who are following this blog…and any other writers who stumble upon it. I had an interesting epiphany today and wondered if this has happened to anyone else.

I talked to a family member who I will call “Rosamund” for the purpose of this entry. We had the usual difficult conversation. Have you ever started play-fighting with someone only to have them hit you a few times with such force that you realize they meant to hurt you…but you can’t really call them on it without looking like a baby?  That’s what talking to Rosamund is like for me.

Afterward, as I sat there fighting the urge to squeeze my eyes shut and scream for a while, I realized that one of the least likeable characters in the book I’m writing is based loosely on this person.

It was a very strange moment in that the pieces just suddenly went click-click-click in my head and I recognized one trait after another of Rosamund’s that this character shares. If you had asked me yesterday if this character had any basis in reality, I would have said “no, none at all.” The character does not look or sound anything like the real Rosamund…but nonetheless, it all fits.  Oops.

So how weird is that? Does this happen to everyone else? And now what? Do I keep my character as she is and hope the real Rosamund doesn’t recognize herself if she ever reads it? While the character is not at all central to the plot, she does have her role.

Weird writer problems…

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2 thoughts on “A Question for Fiction Writers

  1. I think most characters in our novels are derived from people we know. This is a very normal thing to happen. ‘They’ say “write what you know.” All you need to do is tweak a little here and there to come up with your own unique character.

  2. I think it also depends on the traits. If your picking up on something about a person that you know that might be bothering you or a negative trait, that person might not even recognize it as themselves if they read a character who does it. I think people often don’t like to recognize their own negative traits…or maybe I hope this, as I often find that those annoyances creep into my writing as a way for me to get out my frustrations!

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