I felt like writing a post about, writing. OMG. I know, right?
There are so many very good blogs out there about writing that I rarely bother to write one myself ... because how many does the world need?
Also, I tend to spout on about writing every second Saturday at Writer's Plot, so really, no one needs to hear from me on the subject the rest of the time. :)
I don't fucking know - why the questions?
Yesterday there was a conversation on Twitter that delighted me. It was centered around databyte and the characters, in particular Mike.
The conversation was pretty much about the lives (and love interests) of the characters. If you'd stepped into it without knowing it was a book being discussed you'd think they were real people ... which sparked a thought about using real people in novels.
Which is something I do - sometimes and carefully!
Or at least, I take parts of people and mush them around a bit until they become a unified entity. It's not a thought-out process, it just happens. I don't always know exactly where any one trait comes from but they come from somewhere.
Other times, it's much easier and a clearly defined person - in my head. Just because the person is clear in my head, doesn't mean they're recognizable on paper to anyone else.
Because we all see people differently.
The things I see in you may not be the things the guy down the road sees, or your mom sees. Which is probably a good thing. :)
Does it make the characters more real?
If I can see them in my head then I can write them. As I watch the video clip that rolls for each scene and I understand how that character thinks/reacts in whatever situation they're in, then, yes, it becomes real for me. I expect that flows on. If it's real for me, then the characters are real for you?
The fun thing is, no single character is definitely one person. Even when I clearly see their image in my head and can name them ... as they evolve within the story, they become more than they were.
How does that work?
It's quite simple really.
We can never really know everything about another person.
So even though my best friend might be the basis for a character some aspects of his/her psyche and character are not necessarily something they'd recognize because they don't belong to them. They came from someone else or from the situation the character is in or even from me.
There are exemptions.
In a very few cases, I have based a character on someone with their knowledge or a character has evolved into someone I know - then I can go to the person and say, "Hey, this is the situation - how would you react?"
I then decide if the way they'd actually react is good for the story or not. And either make them true to their real self or tweak the reaction to suit. :)
It does make it a bit easier if the scene is really difficult and I just don't know how the character will deal with it.
So there you go.
Now off you go and see if you can figure out who is real and who isn't ...