Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Who are your characters?

Harlan Coben is one of my favourite authors. I found this video of him talking about his character, Myron Bolitar, who is the protagonist in most of his books. Coben talks about the similarities and differences between Myron and himself, and looks at jealousy between them. 

It got me thinking about the characters I write about, and how much of ME goes into them. 
I remember showing one of my early stories to a writer friend (I was probably 15 and the reader was middle-aged) and he said that the main character sounded exactly like me. It occured to me then that ALL my characters were based on me, and that they were all pretty much the same. 

Since then, I've made a constant effort to create new, unique characters. 
Lately, I've been writing characters that I probably wouldn't be friends with if they were real. I've written about people with opposite ideologies to myself (which is challenging, but fun to write). I've taken pieces of my friends and family and molded them into unrecognizable characters. 

Today, I got a text message from a friend, Liam Jose (who is the editor of Crime Factory) saying: 
Can I name a character in a story after you? Feel free to say no, as it's going to be a fairly typical character ...
Really, Liam? You think I'm typical? 

Who are the characters we are writing? How much of them come from us and the people we know, and how much of them is truly fictional?

Reminds me of the saying about Australian author, Helen Garner, who writes 'fiction' using people she knows. (Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love her writing and envy her ability to be completely honest in her work) They say that for every book she writes, she looses 10 friends. 

1 comment:

  1. That's such an interesting video, thanks for sharing. Wow, really got me thinking... I'm probably going to have to blog about this now :P