1. 67Kangaroos
    Offline

    67Kangaroos New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    1,399
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Lost

    Are you the main character, too?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by 67Kangaroos, Nov 7, 2008.

    I've noticed that in everything I write, one of the main characters takes up at least one, usually many, of my quirks. My silliness, my eating habits, singing in my head, etc. all go to the p.o.v. or another prominent character (and sometimes divided between them). I get plenty of things from friends and people I've met as well, but when it's my personal quirks... it's a little odd. I ask myself: Am I really that self-centered? I could be...

    Register to remove this ad


    My question to you is: are you your main characters, too? What are your traits or quirks they tend to take on?
  2. Emerald
    Offline

    Emerald New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2008
    Messages:
    408
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Dublin
    Well, it's impossible to write a character that doesn't possess some of your aspects.
    Even if I wrote about a woman from Kansas who's struggling with pre-natal depression, she would have elements of me in her, even though I'm not a woman, never been to Kansas and never have given birth (I probably wouldn't write for a character so foreign to me, given the choice, simply because it's more difficult to make it believable)

    If your question is whether my main character(s) tend to resemble myself, I'd say sometimes, to a certain degree. Being a male, from a western country, I tend to choose main characters who are male and have western sentiments for the same reason as above. But when it comes down to little details like quirks and physical appearance, I tend to use instinct more than introspection...
  3. Nilfiry
    Offline

    Nilfiry Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    Messages:
    568
    Likes Received:
    44
    Location:
    Eternal Stream
    It's rather difficult to create characters whose characterisctics aren't influence by the writer's temperament/interests. I do not deny this for it can be rather tempting at times. Just to satisfy myself, I am actually writing a story where the MC is a mirror image of me, the MC's love interest is also my kind of love interest, there are multiple references to my other interests, such as favorite songs, foods, flower, etc., and other supporting characters are mirror images of some of my friends.

    The story's turning out awesome!
  4. Helmut_II
    Offline

    Helmut_II New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'd say taking characterization from yourself if a good idea.

    That is, unless you have a Ph.D. in psychology.

  5. Emerald
    Offline

    Emerald New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2008
    Messages:
    408
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Dublin
    Well, that's a bit of a hyperbole. People are complex, sure, but it doesn't take a doctorate just to be able to empathise with another human. In fact, Ph.Ds spend so much time studying and researching and writing about people, they tend not to even see the whole picture outside of their specialised area...
  6. BG_Hambone
    Offline

    BG_Hambone New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Somewhere beyond happiness and sadness, a place to
    In my writing, most of the characters, at least physically, are carbon copies of myself, my friends/family, and people I see on the street.

    Where the distinction for me lies is in thier personalities. Most of my characters are either Insane, Morality Nuts, Homicidal, Power Trippers, Suicidal, Neruotic, Paranoid, Substance Abusers, or a combination of these.

    So, yes, I suppose some of me comes into the story, but I think that I would have a difficult time writing a character who was an exact replica of me. Kudos to ye who can accomplish such a feat.
  7. Show
    Offline

    Show New Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,497
    Likes Received:
    29
    All of my protagonists share something of me, whether it is something that I really am or something that I wish I could be. Sometimes they are a person I wish I could know. The characters are either my optimistic side, or my sad and vulnerable side, or you know, all the many sides of me. A lot of myself goes into almost every character I create(even the antagonists, which are usually created from something I fear) which is why it's so hard to kill off a character I like cause that character usually got an extra strong dose of me. lol
  8. tehuti88
    Offline

    tehuti88 New Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2008
    Messages:
    643
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Michigan
    I am never my characters. I get into THEIR heads to write them, and while every character is probably a tiny ASPECT of myself, none of them ARE me. I manage to separate myself from them in terms of the writing pretty well. I do not let myself into the story as a character whatsoever. I would loathe a character that was based on me, even accidentally. I don't even go by a username of any of my MCs like I see other people on writing websites do a lot. (I always find it weird when people name themselves after their characters. Makes me wonder how well they separate themselves from their story.)

    Probably the fact that I can't stand myself helps somewhat.

    I think if so many of your main characters are taking on your quirks, it might be a sign of trouble. You really might want to try individualizing them more, getting into THEIR heads (not getting them into yours), and observing other people with quirks much different from your own.

    But if you're okay with your MCs being you all the time, I guess it's your choice. *shrug* Just be aware that any readers you might get will probably pick up on it pretty quickly and wonder why your characters are always having the same quirks. It could veer pretty close to Mary Sueism.
  9. BatCountry
    Offline

    BatCountry New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Not when I write, but a little bit when I draw, when I was sketching this person I ended up making him looking a little Asian. And the person I was drawing was Caucasian.
  10. Jade
    Offline

    Jade Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Messages:
    260
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    England, UK
    None of my characters are really like me I don't think. Well I hope not. They have to be stronger and more brutal... else they wouldn't survive all the trauma I put them through :p

    I know myself too well to enjoy writing about someone who was too like me. I would find it too predictable as I would know my reaction to most situations.
  11. Alex_Hartman
    Offline

    Alex_Hartman New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Messages:
    341
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    At a desk staring at a blank notebook.
    A lot of people will say that they never put themselves into their characters. I do. I almost see my MC as me. The only thing about that is, well, I see her very much like me, but I can't look at me and her and say we are the same people. She still seems like someone totally different.

    I think that it is easy to make yourself a character, only because you know yourself better than anyone else. And if you are writing in first person, you have to become the character, but if you are the character, it's going to be easier. Now that I write it like this, it seems like I'm taking the easy way out...

    If you want to challenge yourself, making characters that are nothing like you or the people you know. I tried that...it didn't work so well.
  12. eclecticism7
    Offline

    eclecticism7 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2008
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Somewhere in America
    I think it's impossible for a writer to not put themselves into their characters like that. If it's not the kind of person you are, it's the kind of person you want to be. The fact that i do put so much of myself into my characters is why I don't like certain people reading my work--it feels like I'm telling people my deepest, darkest thoughts, and I don't need the world knowing those things. In the first book I ever wrote, the MC was me. I gave her a different name, but all of her likes, dislikes, and personality traits were exactly like mine--and I certainly didn't do it on purpose. I have characters who are the people I would be if I didn't know Christ, if I had more confidence in my identity in Christ, if my dad were still an alcoholic, if I were raised in a different country, if I went to a Catholic school, if I had some sort of disablity, etc., but all of my characters are me in more ways than most people realize. I think if you can't identify with your characters, or at least your MC, in some really profound way, you're not going to be able to reach your full potential as a writer.
  13. Zieki
    Offline

    Zieki Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    USA
    I put myself in my main character for sure, which I don't think is a bad thing but I also tend to put some of myself into my other characters as well which can be a problem. I find myself writing two or three characters who are extremely similar due to the fact that they all are like me. Its bad and I have to edit and re-edit the characters to make sure I leave myself out of at least a couple characters. As much as I like myself I don't want all my characters to sound like me :)
  14. DragonGrim
    Offline

    DragonGrim New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2008
    Messages:
    1,336
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    Iowa
    My characters are personalities that I've read or watched, people that I have known, and a little of me that gets through the filter.
  15. Jessicalove08
    Offline

    Jessicalove08 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes and no, I mean my character has needs and wants like me, but they are a bit more confident oir sufe of what they want while I'm a bit shy in real life. I usually am soft spoke, but my characters aren't that soft spoken. But like my main character is like me in that were not sure who to love. To be honest, I feel like an actor when I write about other people. I just basically take on the character's personality and somehow I also show some of my weaknesses as well. It sounds complicated, but yeah, that's how I feel about it.
  16. Scarecrow28
    Offline

    Scarecrow28 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    Messages:
    508
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    That's Classified
    My character initially began as an exaggerated adaption of myself with a twinge of some of my favorite characters. That was six years ago or so. As I wrote more and more about this character, he began to progress and inadvertently take on his own qualities and habits. It wasn't like I even thought about giving him these qualities, they just kind of "happened". Its funny, I'll compare some of the stories I wrote about him back then to them now and I can barely see any resemblance besides his physical appearance, which has even changed a bit.
  17. CommonGoods
    Offline

    CommonGoods New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
    Messages:
    412
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    That small dark corner of your mind
    Well, multiple posts have been made with a imlar question, and it alwaysd turns out we base our characters on the people around us. So why not base them on yourself? Perhaps, more impotantly, are they even based on yourself; I could write a MC with similar eating habits as me, but then again, I share nearly all my meals with my family, so maybe I am writing about their eating habits rather then mine.

    Making yourself the MC often works fine, because you know yourself better then you know anyone else (usualy). However, if all your MC's look like you, it can become annoying. It is ok if you use some of your traits in an MC, but make sure not ALL your MC's walk/eat/think like you.
  18. KP Williams
    Offline

    KP Williams New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Messages:
    680
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    My place
    A lot of my characters have one or two of my personality traits, except those traits are far more visible with them. So one of my characters in incredibly silly, another is a leader who hates being a leader, another is a constant troublemaker... Basically, they're different aspects of me on steroids. :p Although I have intentionally made a character that is a clone of myself--same looks, personality, etc.

    This is all in one story. My characters are different for different stories, usually inspired by other people.
  19. Mike Nemesis
    Offline

    Mike Nemesis Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2008
    Messages:
    410
    Likes Received:
    35
    Theres nothing wrong with using yourself, you often find it happens accidently but if you want to be able to relate and understand your main character its always easier when they share exagerated aspects of your personality.

    I find some of my writing tends to contain aspects of me, always a scary factor considering some of the darker sides of writing i do :p
  20. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    40,279
    Likes Received:
    1,612
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    I agree there is no problem in using yourself. As someone pointe out, it's pretty much impossible not to to somne degree. The important thing si to be aware of to what degree you are basing characters on yourself, so they don't all appear to be cookie-cutter clones.
  21. Jupiter
    Offline

    Jupiter New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    In my second novel my MC was clearly me. Really blatantly. I was unselfconscious about it. In fact the whole novel was a brazen act of catharsis. Finishing it was wonderful, but I've learned more about the world now, and more about other peoples voices, more interested in other's stories than my own now, and there is less of me in my characters (though it is still there at times). I think I really had to write that novel, rubbish as it was, and just run with it. I think it works out okay in the end :)
  22. delhi
    Offline

    delhi New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    My characters may not be me, but I tend to make them reason and speak and feel like I do, or like I would've liked to do if I were in their place. They have really complicated thoughts, they rarely get mad and colloquial expressions barely exist. I'm having quite a hard time trying to change that, because... well, if they are all smart, tolerant and polite they won't make much of a story. Anyways, what changes them in the end is the kind of pain I have lived (so that I know), or pain I have read a lot about. Of course, like it was said in previous posts, I hate meeting myself, I can't stand my habits, nothing scares me as much as finding myself somewhere else, even in my own novels :S
  23. Speedy
    Offline

    Speedy Senior Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    5,297
    Likes Received:
    82
    Location:
    Australia
    Its funny when you have a few MCs having a conversation or doing an action and you see a little slither of you in each one.
  24. Flozzie
    Offline

    Flozzie New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    My more or less weird mind
    In some ways I think my characters are like me.
    It's always easier to write about something you have experienced than the opposite, and I've found that more than often I let my character/s react in a similar way to me.
    That's something I'm trying to stop doing though, since I'm trying to teach myself to write characters that are nothing like me.
  25. Asuran
    Offline

    Asuran New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    0
    For me, I find most of my characters take on traits of my friends. In fact, there have beena few times where the only difference is the name.
Similar Threads: main character
Forum Title Date
Character Development Could a shy, modest female share her HONEST thoughts to help me portray my blushing main character? Oct 20, 2014
Character Development Names for my main character? Jun 30, 2014
Character Development How many main characters do you have? Jun 19, 2014
Character Development Do you have to like your main character? Jun 3, 2014
Character Development Main Character's Initial Goal May 8, 2014

Share This Page