1. live2write

    live2write Senior Member

    Feb 7, 2012
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    Fictional Reflection of the Writer

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by live2write, Mar 8, 2012.

    Hello Everyone,

    I am excited that I am finally starting on my novel that I have been developing for six years. It started as a way for me to learn how to write better in school because my school failed to teach me how to write better. It started from a dream that I wrote over and over again until it sounded proper. My english teacher noticed my writing improved where I started with C's and ended with A's

    The main character of the story is a reflection of myself with fictional elements.

    The main character is Amber. She is a general of the country's student military. At a young age she climbed up the ranks with the influence of her father who is the head master of the academy. Her mother is a house wife who is also her best friend. The mother is a guide to help her through her troubles.

    An incident happened where her lifestyle and personality changed. Before the incident she was courageous, strong, never questioned authority and took no for an answer. After the incident her father put her on sabbatical after not filing a complete report of the incident. When she is angry her veins would pop and change colors and her eyes would glow. Before she had herself to guide her and after she hears a voice in her head that tells her what to do. Before she had no emotion for loving a man and after she feels sympathetic and wants somebody to be with her.

    My spouse pointed out that I should put elements of myself as the main character and at the same time find a separation between the main character and myself as the writer. I plan on writing this in first person. I also use the people and personalities around me to help make the story believable. Should I add a separation between myself and the main character or should I keep using myself as the main character in this fantasy.

  2. UrbanBanshee

    UrbanBanshee Member

    Jan 27, 2012
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    For every character I write I put elements of myself in them. Not a lot, but often a single trait which helps me feel closer to my characters. My 'villains' are my selfish desires magnified, if a character has poor self-esteem I use my own to understand how they feel. But I often keep away from likes and dislikes so I can keep the separation there and so I don't get on a high horse about something. I heard once that no matter what you do all your characters will reflect some part of you. So it's fine to take aspects of personalities from yourself and those around you, but I would be wary of completely cut and pasting other people you know into your story.

    Reality is often unrealistic. Really it's true, weird things that have no meaning or explanation happen all the time to me, but I can't put that sort of thing into a story because unlike life, fiction should make sense. I say that because even if you perfectly replicated a person from real life in your story it can very well turn out 'unrealistic.' It is very good though to take points and quirks from life. Do you know someone who talks with their hands? Maybe that would be perfect for a character of yours. Know someone that is anal about something odd? You can use that, and it is fine to draw on your own emotions from the past to bring a scene to life. :)
  3. Acanthophis

    Acanthophis ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) Contributor

    Feb 11, 2011
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    I usually draw inspiration for my characters from myself but also from people I know. I think UrbanBanshee nailed how I feel, so I needn't say any more.
  4. Tashanel

    Tashanel Member

    Feb 26, 2012
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    Surabaya, Indonesia
    I'm with urbanbanshee for this. I will not cut and pasting from someone in my life. Why? In life we can't write our purpose in this world, we must seek it. But, in a story you must put the purpose to make a sense. So it depend your moral lesson too.

    In my novel i have 4 main character that have my trait a little (not a whole personality):

    Alyssa :
    -Excited with a little part of something not a whole part
    Adrian :
    Kimi :
    -Soft heart
    Ryan :

    what my character purpose is (i write this first, then place my trait that will going on):

    -I know something. so, I will thinked the best for everyone
    Adrian :
    -To seek, what I want and just for me
    Kimi :
    -I believe what I feel and what become my desire
    Ryan :
    -To serve what I have and what I build

    Somehow i manage the formula. I put more traits each character. And hopla i found the result and start writing.
    That's my thought.

    My point is,
    put the most knownable traits in yourself if you wanna put some. The most knownable must help you a lot in developing.

    maybe something that you already change, maybe something which people always suggesting you on; Alyssa was my problem till now. Many people think i'm easily distracted person, and suggest some. Adrian was my problem when i'm little, but i already have a moment to change that momment. Kimi was my knownable trait, sometimes people using me till now and i too soft hearted! And Ryan is me for now. I'm burn in passion if i have something interest and can't get rid off it.

  5. Show

    Show Contributor Contributor

    Jul 25, 2008
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    I don't typically "put" traits in characters. I let the characters develop naturally. While I do often hit ruts where several characters come out similarly, I think it's worked pretty well for me. I think just about every character will be a reflection of the author, to at least some degree. (Obviously some much less than others) Not sure the author has to actively go for that. Develop the character and I think you should hopefully see enough of yourself in the character for your purposes.
  6. Phoenix Hikari

    Phoenix Hikari New Member

    Feb 21, 2012
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    There's nothing wrong with putting part of yourself in the character(s) you write about. The problem is if you don't do that. For the story to flow naturally from you and make you feel part of it and make your character(s) feel part of it, you'll eventually put part of your personality in it. Whether you want to or not. Just try not to make them you, they need to be unique and independent from you.

    I'd advice against sitting down and making lists of your character's traits, just place down the events that made your character who they are and write your story. if you know what you're doing then your character will develop naturally and without effort or struggling.
  7. Mallory

    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

    Jun 27, 2010
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    Tampa Bay
    Honestly, I always make my characters different from myself. When I've tried to make them too similar, it always fails, because I just have them do/think what I'd think, which makes them come out flat. I understand them, but readers wouldn't. When I make them different, it forces me to think hard to develop them.
    1 person likes this.
  8. Tesoro

    Tesoro Contributor Contributor

    Jan 3, 2011
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    A place with no future
    ^This! Every word of it.
    I'm the same, I need characters that are different from myself to write them well, and I don't feel I have a problem putting myself in their shoes because of that.
  9. jazzabel

    jazzabel Contributor Contributor

    Jan 5, 2012
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    It is impossible not to put a bit of yourself in all your characters, but deliberately basing a character on yourself I think is always a mistake. It is the fastest way to writing Mary Sue type character because all of us are defensive, protective of ourselves, and that will stand in the way of solid character development.
    When I want to write about me, I write dramatised true stories, they are every bit as entertaining as fiction and I am not fooling myself, rather than that, I delve into a bit of a self analysis, but it is possible to do because I know I am writing me, what actually happened, how I felt and reacted, it's a walk down a memory lane.
    Other characters I try as hard as I can to make them separate from myself. Obviously, themes will recur, but having them be separate entities helps to keep it real imo.
  10. Nakhti

    Nakhti Banned

    Feb 22, 2012
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    I have 4 female secondary characters who all represent at least one aspect of my personality:

    1. Dumb, ditzy, clumsy, bubbly, excitable, gossipy, childish
    2. Sarcastic, egotistical, emotionally detached, intellectually superior, sexually aggressive
    3. Mummsy, protective, sensible, practical, moralising, authoritative, disciplinary, sympathetic
    3. Sulky, self absorbed, pessimistic, selfish, jealous, conceited, catty

    I am all of these, at one time or another. On a really crazy day I can be all of them at once ;)

    But none of these characters ARE me - people have recognised my traits in them, but that's not the same thing. I would be very uncomfortable if I thought I was writing myself into one of my stories, because obviously the more personal a story is, the more likely you are to take criticism badly. It would make me feel vulnerable and exposed.

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