Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Who Are You?

As I'm retyping and reworking The Thief Book, I've begun to consider which character in the book I most resemble. I don't consciously write myself into stories, and while I joke with my friend that the most irascible character was modeled after her, I'm not in the habit of writing other people into them either. But, it sometimes crosses my mind that I don't really resemble many of my characters.

In The Thief Book, I most generally resemble the antagonist, Prince Leo. It sounds more unflattering than it is.

Leo isn't a villain. He's just a good cop trying to enforce the laws he knows to be morally right. That sounds fair, right? If only that didn't put him at odds with our lovable MC and her friends.

But Leo and I have some things in common, though I'm no one's idea of a good cop, nor am I royalty -- that I know of. Leo and I both like the rules. Yeah, I know, sometimes you need to think outside the box and all that, but there's something to be said for fast rules. Leo believes that some things are right and some things are wrong, and that's just how things go. I've got a more gray area perspective on things, but I can see his point.

He's logical, and a lot of what he says makes sense. I flatter myself that I am just as rational. He's getting in the way of a thief. Yeah, I have to admit, without knowing any particulars, I'd be getting in the way of the thief, too.

He loves his family. I think we all do that. He likes his job. I do, too. He gets beaten at chess. I can't even begin to count the number of times I've done that.

So, it's true. In my book, I have most in common with my antagonist. Go figure.

Do you write people you know, or yourself, into your stories? Which of your characters do you think you have the most in common with?


  1. I think we all write bits and pieces of ourselves into our characters. I'd have to say that I see a little of myself in each of my characters, yes, even a tiny bit in the antagonist.

  2. I think almost all of the stories that are important to me were based on real people, often myself. I use my fiction to clarify my real life, often, so it is founded on real people.

    On a related topic, I love it when readers connect with a particular character or when two readers argue about a character. For me, that means that the character has come to life for them. One of the best compliments I got on my book was when someone told me she was working to change her life so that she didn't end up like one of my antagonists.

  3. I can't deny that what I write sometimes has small bits of myself in it; it would be unnatural if it didn't. The concentration of that really varies with what I'm writing about. The same is true of people I know, and people I encounter. I think that everything that happens around me in life serves as some kind of inspiration, as some kind of stimulus. But there is always that one stimulus that triggers the torrent of words, and I find myself going into my head and digging up all of the things I had recorded that seem to relate and spilling them out.

  4. Oh we're total narcissists, so there's always a little (or a lot) of us in our MCs. We just can't help it.

  5. LW -- I think people we know slip in, if and only if because those are the people we understand. I know I would never be able to write as my MC an 80-year-old man, because I don't have a lot of experience with that.

    Davin -- As a reader, I love arguing about characters, and I agree that I would love to think I'd inspired such emotion in a reader. I'm very impressed with your capacity to move your reader.

    Nevine -- I won't deny that life inspires me. Every now and then, when talking to my sister, I hear things that would sound really great for a villain. And, oddly enough, they're in no way villainous when she says them.

    LnL -- I won't deny that my MC and I share a sense of humor, though I think my similarity to her ends quickly. I never know how much of me slid in there until I'm done.