Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday: Writing in Real Life

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.


This week's question: Who (from real life) have you written into a book?

This is a tricky one, because I try not to write people exactly from real life. I want my books to be read by the masses, and I never want to feel embarrassed that so-and-so realizes it's them. That's just awkward.



I also believe real life is never as interesting as fiction, and I think the same is true of characters. I do, however, take the essence of people and try to infuse them in my characters.

So, for example, I draw from my own experience to model my MC Bea from The Insect Collector.

I use all of my greatest and best friends to create a composite that is her closest friend, Maggie.

But... If you want to know a little secret, I met a person last year who I thought was a real slimeball. It was for an event and he was the guest speaker. He spoke eloquently and on interesting topics, but the moment his speaking time ended he became rude and unfriendly. He's one of those people that (no matter how he/she looks) becomes ugly before your eyes because of the way they treat people.

I spent most of the event,
a) wishing I was somewhere else, and
b) morphing him into my villain for The Insect Collector books.

When do I include a character from real life? Only when necessitated by the most honorable forms of revenge. 








Visit the Highway to see how others responded!

Check out Carolina Valdez Miller, celebrating getting an agent with style.


On a serious note, the writing community is responding to the disaster in Japan. Visit the Write Hope site!!

22 comments:

  1. Love this: "When do I include a character from real life? Only when necessitated by the most honorable forms of revenge."

    I think this was a great RT topic. (And probably one of the easier ones for me.)

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  2. lol I love that. There are some truly awful people in this world, so I can definitely see how someone could inspire the villain for a story. ;)

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  3. Awesome. That last line is one of my new favorites. :) I definitely am guilty of tacking a trait or two onto a villain inspired by real life people. Sometimes you just have to do it!

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  4. I've never included someone I know or have met. My characters tend to find me instead of me finding them. That said, it does sound like fun.

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  5. Great story about your villain. It sounds like your impression of him will make/has made your villain very real.

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  6. When do I include a character from real life? Only when necessitated by the most honorable forms of revenge. <--Ha ha!

    I don't write real life people into my books, either. I usually grab a mannerism here and an annoying habit there but that's about it.

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  7. Love it! I've never thought to make a villian out of a real-life unpleasant person. I think you've inspired me. :)

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  8. The only person in real life I've vaguely included is myself. Not in a Mary Sue wish fulfilment sense, but taking incidents from my life and letting the characters react in their own ways to them. Writing what I know.
    - Sophia.

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  9. You know, that's one of the best things about being an author. If you wanted to, you could totally write some into a book, vilify them, and then give em the whack! Ha! That speaker sounds like a real toad.

    Thank you so much for the mention! I really appreciate it! :D

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  10. I don't like using people from my real life too much. Awesome post. Nice seeing you on the road trip.

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  11. I tend to merge a two or three different real life people into fictional characters. They're more interesting that way.

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  12. OH MY GOSH you are such a genius! The next terrible work conference I have to go to, I am busting out the notebook and using my boredom/anger to fuel a creative villain-making frenzy!

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  13. When do I include a character from real life? Only when necessitated by the most honorable forms of revenge.

    He he ^

    There's a character in PRODIGAL MAGGIE a lot like your villain, even down to the way he charms lots of people but is awful when no one's looking - which, of course, is the true test of one's character.

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  14. I love "morphing him into my villain." Love it.

    It's interesting that you said you'd worry about the people you write about being embarassed. My students who know I write are begging to be in my novels!

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  15. Lol, sometimes obnoxious people make the most interesting characters. :)

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  16. HAHA! That last line is most brilliant!

    And I'm right there with you--while my villain isn't entirely based on one particular individual, there is one person that I think of pretty much every time I write scenes with the bad guy. Unrecognized revenge is strangely cathartic. ;)

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  17. Sounds like you found great inspiration for your characters, and I especially loved how you developed your villain!

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  18. I bet morphing the obnoxious dude into a villain made the evening way more fun!

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  19. Kinda makes you wonder where Susan Collins got Haymitch doesn't it? I mean is there a Haymitch dude actually walking around out there ----Maybe named Mitch with an annoying habit of saying "Hey" till everyone named him? Don't invite "hey Mitch" to the party - you know he will be impossible - remember when he fell off the stage last year? hehehehe Could happen.

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  20. My characters are compilations of so many people--a little like mutts from the pound, really. Or, they resemble a collage made from photos from a stack of magazines.
    Good question. Made me reflect. I like that.

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  21. Writer revenge FTW! Hehe.

    Listening to the douche and picturing him as a villain hopefully made the time go faster!

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  22. I definitely create hybrid characters out of people I meet, but I certainly have a lot of people I like that I use for that purpose too. They seem to think it's flattering. I haven't had anyone act embarrassed by it at all. I even have a best friend who ended up influencing the wife of my villain, and for some reason, she's latched onto the villain as her favorite character! Emotionally, she likes him more than my MCs! It's great, because I'll ask her why she feels this way, and then it all becomes inspiration for her character interaction. Pretty fun stuff.

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