Wednesday, July 14, 2010

How Much of Yourself Ends up in Your Characters?

In my first book (which is looking to be shelved indefinitely), my main character and I shared a lot of similarities.  I guess I found it easier to pour myself into her... maybe thinking that I'd relate to her better or something.  Her opinions were mine, her appearance was pretty much mine, her personality was partly mine....  A lot of that happened subconsciously.

But this time around, I've noticed that my female main character (there is also a boy main character--alternating POVs) isn't like me at all.  I'm not sure if I'm doing it completely on purpose, or if I'm just trying to make her a different character from any other I've written. 

It's like a form of acting when you write a character that differs from yourself so much.  You have to try to think as they would, react, move, speak...  it can be a challenge, but it's also pretty fun to temporarily pretend to be who you aren't.  Don't you think?

How much of yourself do you put into your charaters?  Do you seem to gravitate toward adding in your physical characteristics, personailty, opinions, a combination...?  Or do you think it's too revealing to put too much of yourself in, and instead dream up someone completely different?  

17 comments:

  1. i don't realy put any of me in my characters, I think it's because i used to write fanfic in middle school and had a mary sure character. that just used it all up

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  2. I've never really actively tried to make a character one way or another, but they've all had very distinct personalities, completely different from my own. I'm far too internalizing of a person to be an interesting character. :-)

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  3. I make a conscious effort to not base a character off myself. Obviously, some of my opinions and qualities sneak into various characters but I do my best to keep it minimal. The stories aren't about me; they're about the people in them and I need to do their tale justice, not myself.

    Now, in one of my more current WiPs, the main plot is loosely based on actual events from my life so I'm trying extra hard to make the main character differ extensively from me.

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  4. Hey Kristin, thank you so much for your post! I so enjoyed reading about your writing experiences, especially since I always find such great advice from you :)
    Two of my MCs are very close to my own personality. Personally, I find it kind of hard to write a character (in a first novel) that's really different. You write what you know, right? I don't know, but this is excellent food for thought!
    Thanks again:D

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  5. I'm sure there's a part of us in all our characters--except maybe my killers. They're kind of demented. LOL

    Lynnette Labelle
    http://lynnettelabelle.blogspot.com

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  6. For one of my WIP's, a character was basically me with a different name. But that was on purpose because I based other characters on my friends specifically. For mine now, though, my MC is nothing like me. I like it a lot better. More fun to get into somebody else's head. lol

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  8. that's a good thing about writing. As a psychologist, I often say that writing is the best therapy - sometimes you can put yourself in new places and settings by putting characters similar to you in interesting adventures and stories, and sometimes you can just make your characters everything you're not (but secretly wish to be) and relive with them what you wouldn't go through in real life.

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  9. My first book had a lot of me in my characters, but then it was hard to make my characters different from one another. Now, I try to "listen" more to what the characters would actually do and have them be shaped by their environment. I think it helps make the story sound more original. Of course, we will always put something of ourselves in our characters because I'm pretty sure it's impossible not to...

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  10. Interesting thought Dezz :)

    Tiana - I think it's impossible too. Even I were to write a psycho, their identity still CAME from me... does that mean I'm a little psycho too? ;)

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  11. My MCs usually get some of me, but never all. But I do find that my MCs rub off on me sometimes. Hmm... what does that say about me? :)

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  12. I've had some MCs like myself and then some that aren't. I've been told I make characters like my friends a lot though.

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  13. My characters look nothing like me, but there is always at least one piece that's like me or that I can really identify with. A small part anyway. :)

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  14. One of my MC's shares a lot of my characteristics, but it fit in the type of story I was writing. As they say...write what you know.

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  15. You know, I try to make my MCs dramatically different from each other, which means they end up being different from me by default. It's been funny writing Lauren for the current WIP - she's sort of perfect, and yet as I wrote, I discovered her fault. And I feel so much like it's a fault I have to, but never thought about much. Writing is such an interesting way to discover new things about yourself, no actual introspection intended. :p

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  16. I'm on my first novel and my character is a LOT like me. I keep trying to make her different but it's not happening :( That's great that you have a different MC now! I think that characters are always somewhat created out of reality, whether it's our own or someone else's. That's what makes fiction so powerful!

    I really like your blog! I'm excited to be a new follower!

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  17. I love it! So many different thoughts here! This just proves that there is no right or wrong way!

    Welcome Saumya! Glad you found me! :)

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