People ask me where I get my characters. I think they’re either worried that they’ll show up in a book – or maybe hoping for that to occur.
The truth is, I rarely base my characters on real people. Occasionally, I’ll have a contest or oblige a friend and have a “cameo,” but usually, the characters come straight out of my imagination. If you see yourself in any of my characters, that’s great, but it’s not because I know you and decided to toss you in there!
I do use traits from people I know, however. I’ve used a friend’s nervous fidgeting habit, pet phrases, a way of wearing their hair, and other snippets that, divorced from the entire personality, can’t really be traced back to any one person. I don’t like having recognizable people in my stories for several reasons.
First, you’re either going to love it or hate it, and I can’t really predict which most of the time, so why open up that can of worms? Second, this is going to be forever, so whatever I write about you, whether flattering or not, will stick around a lot longer than you want it to. And finally, if I include one real person, everybody’s going to want one – and I just don’t have that many background characters to pass around.
What about you? Where do your characters come from?