Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Identity Theft

Character development plays a very large role, as any writer knows, in the process of novel-writing. Often times your characters are faces of your own personality, whether buried in the depths of your pain ridden soul, or bubbling out of you like suds from a champagne bottle.

My current novel, Trueborn, features two unique personalities, both of which were modeled after personality types that I've come to understand via the bonds of friendship. The fun thing to watch is, when I'm writing their stories, they almost take on a life of their own and I've even found that they make decisions that almost break the roles they are supposed to be tied to. I write like I'm watching a movie. I see it happening as if watching the scene play out then try to pen it down. (Or type - to be more accurate).

It's amazing though as I watch my story unfold, I notice that even though the characters are supposed to be independent of one another and made up, I feel like I'm writing about me. I'll notice as I look back over chapters I've written and find that characters are making choices, thinking like and behaving like I would if I were in that situation. I think it must be an art to be able to write completely unattached from a character. It's definitely something I have to work on.

Do any of you find that your characters are mirroring you? Is this just an example of author induced reverse identity theft?

Any thoughts?


Ash. Elizabeth said...

no way. my MC doesn't mirror me at all because she's way cooler and always manages to think of snappy comebacks off the top of her head. i'd never been so lucky.

David J. West said...

I try to make sure that the characters aren't just characters but real people-in the sense that they don't all know what you know, they dont feel like you (or I) feel, differing tastes, intelligences, strengths, weaknesses, wants etc.

Thats probably a good way to keep track of everyone-is what does each character want out of every single scene-it can't possibly always be what you the author want.

I definetly have characters that are aspects of me-but its something you will want to watch out for so they don't all start to seem like the same person. I'm just suggesting finding each characters core motivation to help differentiate them from yourself so that the book has a realistic sense of character.

Sorry for the ramblings-disregard if I'm telling you the obvious. Its late time to rest up for T-Day.

Tori said...

At times during Nano I found that my characters suddenly became unlike what I made them to be, especially when I was stuck and had no clue what to write next. But I kind of expected that. As far as doing stuff outside of Nano...I try to write all sorts of characters, some I understand and love and others that I never could. And every writer is different, but I think that along the way you are bound to write yourself in there somewhere. And chances are it will actually be pretty good!

Steph Damore said...

I agree with Tori, you'll show up in work every now and then no matter what. I subconsciously try not to, but every so often it happens.

Voidwalker said...

Thanks for the feedback. I believe it is something I'll need to focus on more. I don't want the characters to be so synonymous with me that people can point it out. I guess that's where beta readers, who know me, will help.