1. jedellion

    jedellion Member

    Jan 17, 2013
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    somewhere near Manchester UK

    Draw inspiration form relaity

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by jedellion, Jan 18, 2013.

    Draw inspiration from reality

    I was reading another post about using real people in stories. It reminded me that many writers create new characters by drawing on traits of people they have met and know.

    I wanted to share a story with you.

    I worked in an inner city college some years ago, and a few of the lecturers were studying the same course in higher education theory. One of the chaps on the course we all secretly called 'Mr bean' ( I shall use the name 'Robin' for this man) as he reminded us vividly of Rowan Atkinsons comical character. Similar mannarisms, the way he held himself.

    Anyway, one evening we were at the pub and one of my friends, a rather cheeky young lady asked 'Mr Bean' if he liked comedy.

    'Oooh yes' he replied gesticulating wildly. 'I Love a god laugh.'

    She smiled and nodded and we all chatted about our favourite comedies. Then, she glanced at me and smirked before asking Robin...

    'Do you like that Rowan Atkinson?'

    'Ohh, funny you should mention him. Do you know, I went to university with him!'

    We all looked at him...

    'Yes, we shared a bedsit for three years, jolly nice chap!'

    It was clear.... Robin WAS Mr bean, the real life inspiration for the character.

    Have you guys used real people?

    Do they know?

    p.s. How do you edit the bleeping post title?
  2. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Alive in the Superunknown

    Jun 28, 2012
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    I've used real people as inspiration for characters. They don't know, and I wouldn't tell them, either.

    Don't know how to edit titles.
  3. chicagoliz

    chicagoliz Contributor Contributor

    May 30, 2012
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    I've used real people, but most frequently my characters will have pieces of several different people I've met. I've also read a number of times about authors (including some authors of well-known, successful books) basing characters on real people and the authors being quite concerned about the people recognizing themselves. But most of the time they haven't and sometimes will even make a comment about how much they liked/hated the character.

    So, you have to remember that you're inspired by your interpretation of the real person, which is not always the same as how they perceive themselves or how others might perceive them. But, you should also disguise what you can if you're really basing a character significantly on one particular person -- don't make them in the same profession, live in the same town, have the same physical traits, and certainly not the same name or a name close to the real person's. If possible, it's good to make them the opposite gender of the real life person, but this isn't always feasible.

    I've wouldn't tell any of the people they were inspirations for my characters. If the trait or life circumstance I'm emphasizing is not necessarily a positive one, no good can come of it.
  4. PaulKemp24

    PaulKemp24 New Member

    Dec 24, 2012
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    I think many of us draw some inspiration for characters from real people -- just to varying degrees. It might be just one physical characteristic about them and nothing else. It may be a particular characteristic of their personality or mannerisms. Or it might really go all the way and be based on almost everything about them, head to toe inside and out. Unless you're writing fantasy than we've probably all come across someone in our lives who reminds us of a character we've created.

    For one of my ongoing projects I needed a boss who was a real jerk. Well I've had a few jerks for bosses at various jobs over the years so I had a few to choose from. I took pieces of each of them to create my character.

    Who knows -- maybe it happens subconsciously and we create characters without even realizing we know the person we've created.
  5. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Nov 21, 2006
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    Coquille, Oregon
    can't edit titles... have to ask a moderator to do it and i'm not even sure they can do it...
  6. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 19, 2007
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    Massachusetts, USA
    If he edits the post title early enough (advanced edit mode), the thread title will update as well. Otherwise, he can ask a moderator to correct the thread title.

    I was never quite sure what defined the transition, after which the user's edit of the post title no longer updates the thread title.

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