Who are they, and where did they come from?

I was thinking about characters today, not any characters in particular but about writers and their attitudes to their characters. To be honest, I only now about my own characters in my books, I haven’t actually talked to anyone else about theirs, but my thoughts came from being a reader, an avid reader, and addicted reader. If I was able to interview other writers maybe I’d be able to ask some questions about this aspect of their writing.

  • Are your characters based on real people?
  • Is your main character based on yourself?
  • If the answer to the previous question is yes, then is the character a true-ish portrayal of you, or is it how you would like to be, or is it an exaggerated representation of one aspect of your own personality?
  • If your characters are based on real people to what extent, if at all, do you try and disguise their identities?
  • The same as above – and does your character have the same appearance as the person s/he’s based on?
  • If your character is totally imaginary, what sparked their creation? Was it because you needed a certain ‘person’ in the story, or did you decide to write about a certain type of person e.g. a detective/soldier/ /romantic lead etc?
  • How did you decide on the appearance of your characters? Do you have ‘models’ or ‘actors’ – for example a person you know, a well-known person, a portrait or photo of an unknown person you’ve seen?
  • If you have totally made up the appearance of your character, how did you do that? Did you ‘build’ them like an identikit image?
  • Do you like your characters? Are you a little in love with your characters?
  • Do you indulge your characters and bend plots to make sure all works out for them? Do you sacrifice aspects of the story for the sake of your characters?
  • Do you aspire to be like your character – in appearance or personality? Or would you like to be like them, or even be them? Are you envious of them?
  • Is writing your story like rôle play?
  • Is it hard to let go of your characters when you finish a story?

Maybe it would be an interesting exercise to answer my own questions!

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