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Gravity's End
May 12th, 2003, 04:56 PM
It's been said that an author's characters are really representations of themselves, to one degree or another. Do you all agree with that?

It's obviously true to the extent that the character came from your imagination, but have any of you noticed a tendency to form your characters (particularly your main characters) around your own personality type or experiences? Or to form your storylines exclusively around places or things that you've experienced, or would like to have experienced?

I've noticed that is sometimes the direction I start to go in if I'm not careful, and that I have to make a conscious effort to write a main character who would say and do things very differently from myself. For those of you with the same problem, how do you combat it? I sometimes have to go back to observations I've written down about real-life people who fit that character type, and use that as a reference.

Shanoncia
May 12th, 2003, 05:36 PM
I think perhaps that unless your an acceptional author it's kind of hard to not accidentally induce your characters into picking up your habbits, and manors of speech.

Sometimes I try to create characters completely separate from anyone and anything I've ever met or known, and yet sometimes, as in one particular story of mine that comes to mine, nearly every sningle character was inspired by one friend or another... and enemies too I suppose. I knwo a lot of people would disagree with this style of writing, but I'm not sure why. Sometimes, it's works. And works well at that... :)

Anyway, I've written a character which really was myself in my mind, as have many authors I'm sure though I doubt that every character ever written contains some elements of the author... Unless of course you want to get into the "we all have both good and evil in us," spiel.... :D

milamber_reborn
May 13th, 2003, 12:55 AM
I haven't noticed any similarities in my writing. I write the characters how they need to be written for the story.

Pluvious
May 13th, 2003, 02:29 AM
Originally posted by Gravity's End
It's been said that an author's characters are really representations of themselves, to one degree or another. Do you all agree with that?

It's obviously true to the extent that the character came from your imagination, but have any of you noticed a tendency to form your characters (particularly your main characters) around your own personality type or experiences? Or to form your storylines exclusively around places or things that you've experienced, or would like to have experienced?

I've noticed that is sometimes the direction I start to go in if I'm not careful, and that I have to make a conscious effort to write a main character who would say and do things very differently from myself. For those of you with the same problem, how do you combat it? I sometimes have to go back to observations I've written down about real-life people who fit that character type, and use that as a reference.

I would recommend clearly defining all of your primary characters before you begin. Personally I start with a basic idea for a character and then add to him/her as I do my research. For me this helps to seperate each character and make certain that each can survive outside my head.

For example, I started one character as a cliche kind of thief/assasin. As I came upon new ideas he transformed from a thief to a destitute gentleman. From here I continued to add background and personality traits (humilation in society, personal loss, yet a variety of social & physical skills). Now he has past conflict and personal skill, as well as a qualities that are not at all similar to me or the other primary characters.

Kirby
May 13th, 2003, 03:16 AM
Some barely reflect aspects of myself, but they are definitly there.
Some share major character traits with me.
Others have aspects that I do not! (but usually have some small thread in there.)
Sometimes their behaviourisms stem from events that I remember affecting me, when I was younger.

I was asked a very good question once.
If you were to describe yourself as if you (your real personality) were a character, as honestly as possible, what would you get?
(And it's important to look at who you are and what you really do in situations - not what you would like to be seen as being, or how you imagine others to see you!)

You know, I think I'll start a new thread in the general forum, on that very topic! :)

juzzza
May 13th, 2003, 03:51 AM
I would hate to think some of my darker characters were based even loosely on myself but in order to write about them I have to put myself in their heads and think OK, if I was them what would I do/say in this situation?

Half of the fun in writing eeeeeeevil characters is allowing yourself to commit the worst deeds possible, even if it is (thank goodness) only on paper. There is a thrill (good or bad) about writing things you would never consider doing in real life, Jesus just imagine if Stephen King was remotely like some of his creations.

Fear is a useful tool for a writer, I know what scares me and what my worst fears are, if I can soak my characters in the ability to realise my own fears, the hope is it will have the same affect on readers.

Morgan
May 13th, 2003, 04:21 AM
most of my characters are alcoholic womanisers with self-preservation tendancies... yup... that's me :D

Ouroboros
May 13th, 2003, 09:23 AM
Originally posted by Gravity's End
It's been said that an author's characters are really representations of themselves, to one degree or another. Do you all agree with that?


I think to some extent it is obvious in a lot of people's work. Here I am thinking of people like David Gemmell who admit quite freely that many protagonists they have written have effectively been modelled on themselves. Other characters, likewise, taken from the author's life in many cases.


It's obviously true to the extent that the character came from your imagination, but have any of you noticed a tendency to form your characters (particularly your main characters) around your own personality type or experiences? Or to form your storylines exclusively around places or things that you've experienced, or would like to have experienced?

I don't know if it's a regular occurence, but it's certainly happened once or twice. After a nasty breakup with a girl friend I remember writing this very vicious duelling story about a guy who went around challenging his ex-girlfriend's new lovers to duels. You can imagine how it went. Self-indulgent crap, in hindsight.

Twelve
May 13th, 2003, 10:12 AM
I see no problem with writing a character that is similar to you. At least once. And that way, you know that this character is believeable and realistic.

My example was always "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn" which is actually a book about Mark Twain's childhood. And it is a very good book indeed!


12

pcarney
May 13th, 2003, 10:14 AM
I do find it tough to seperate myself from the main characters, but I'm not sure that its such an issue. I believe you should write what you know, and that even applies to fantasy characters. The main protagonist may be a ultra-powerful wizard, but they would still share the same emotions as other people.

Of course, this is just talking about human characters. That's what makes writing non-humans such a challenge. Alot of times I read these and think- this elf/dwarf/alien is no different from any human character. They may look differently, but they don't think differently. That's why I just picked up a book talking about how Germans, Americans and French percieve the world. Granted, these are all still humans (except for maybe the French ;) ), but there are some radical differences in how we all percieve relationships and such.