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Julian Laverne
Do you have the tendency to reflect your character/personality/personal attributes into any of your characters in your fiction writing? I started to wonder about this after reading the works of many people, both on here and in mainstream books and so forth. Sometimes, I've been told that many authors like to emphasize themselves upon the main characters, whereas others will make a complete opposite out of themselves with their main characters. Other writers perfer to extrude their persona through more subtle characters, such as a character who associates him/herself with the protagonist (the "best friend", "ally" type), or even to the extent of a irrelevant person who doesn't have much of a role in the plot.

So do you do it and how?

12/14/2007 #1
Sweet Lemon Effect
I like my character to be everything I'm not or cannot be. A criminal, a ghost, an elf. My characters are funny, wicked, kind, cruel, smart, stupid, ugly, gorgeous. Making yourself into your characters is boring! Make up new, interesting characters! Characters that would be interesting to meet if you were in the same world. I don't want to meet my character and be the same as them!
12/16/2007 #2
Julian Laverne
That is true. For many people, the gift of writing is to make characters which are completely anti-paralells to themselves, it's a way of escaping boring reality and I find that is very commendable. But I guess for some people, writing themselves (or a bit of themselves) into a character can really be satisfying as well, it kind of leaves your unique signature in the story, no matter how flamboyant or subtle it is ( and no matter how "boring" you are).
12/26/2007 #3
KnittingKneedle
Sometimes, I find elements of myself or my family leaking into the story...not massive ones, but it's great for adding quirks that you already know about. Sometimes it's on purpose and sometimes it just leaks out, for example I once created a character profile where I put down that my main villain hates the sound of people biting into apples (one of my massively weird pet-peeves!) just so I could emphasise with my villain a little more...now, when I get round to writing that particular story I may work it into the story, I may not...but it's a good place to start for not creating an over the top villain.

I also think picking a flaw of your own or of someone you know and giving it to a character you have created is fantastic for warding off Mary-Sue like creatures...I remember those exercises they made you do at school about listing your good and bad qualities and how it was always easier to list the bad ones, whereas if your creating a character from scratch your more like a parent and parents always tend to see the best in their kids...if you see what I mean?

12/29/2007 #4
Erich Sturmburg
Fortunately, I rarely base myself into stories, unless the story itself made to be of pure humour or just a parody of some sorts. But other than that, I don't input any aspects of myself or my family into the stories. Instead, I would go for a different approach.

When planning to make a character, put yourself in the shoes of the character you're making. Here's an example of what I did when I was making a North Korean character.

............................

Confirmed origin: North Korea

Name: Hyun-Su

Gender: Female

DOB: 28th January 1984

Height: 1.60 metres

Hair: Black medium bob, in which the front ends at the collarbone, while the back at the nape

Eyes: Very dark crimson (Often seen as black)

Description: White long sleeved shirt with brown skirt that ends just above the knees, and black kitten heel shoes

Likes: Reading, quiet places

Dislikes: Noise.

Pros: Very well in gun fighting

Cons: No ability in close combat

Behaviour: Quiet, always found in The Academy’s library reading books of any topic, but mostly on fictional conflicts. When in battle, still a quiet person, but speaks when needed.

Weapons: TT-33 handgun, Type 68 assault rifle

Small storyline for Hyun-Su: Initially from Shinjuku’s Police Station as a mercenary in training, she helps in the lunatic mission in the early stages

Humour: Sometimes sleeps with eyes open, always making people assume she’s dead.

....................

Slowly, put the pieces together while getting inspirations from other sources like from Wikipedia, anime/ manga, games, movies or even sitcoms. Also, if you need a bit of assistance into how to intro the character, just do a small storyline on how he/she would be entering the prose. For me, that's how I prevented myself from inputting some aspects of mine into the proses. And also, it's a very effective way of making a truly original character. But of course, if you visualise the character I have made here, it does remind me of a cross between Yuki Nagato from Haruhi and... well.. some girl in Gunslinger Girl...

12/30/2007 #5
Narc
I think everyone does, to some degree. Even if your character has nothing in common with you, their thought processes still come from you. Their emotion makes sense to you. If it doesn't, then the character probably isn't going to be too believable.

For instance. You could have a character who is nothing like you in most ways. They're evil. They like to kill puppies.

But when their evil plot to kill the world's puppies is foiled they get frustrated. And that part of you that knows what it's like to be angry because your plans are ruined is put into the character at that point.

And maybe your character stabs his/her minion because they're frustrated. Okay, so you don't stab people, but the same thing that led them to do that is maybe the same thing that leads you to throw things when you're frustrated.

So, yes, I believe that every author puts themself into the main character. Maybe not so distinctly as to give them all of the same attributes, but the emotions and the thoughts are going to come from the author.

1/12/2008 #6
concerto49
I think, Narc, you might want to say that our personalities - they way we think, etc (and to an extent our friends/families/etc) influence the characters we make and the way they act.

To one extreme it would mean one of the characters could be a complete reflection. On the other end, it might just be minor things - like small habits that others don't notice.

1/25/2008 #7
Narc
Exactly.

As an example. I have a chapter where my main character is involved in a mission that has her running around a mountainside. She struggles with it. I based a lot of what I wrote about her thoughts and how she was feeling off of my experiences when I was sixteen and did Outward Bound (I was one of two girls and the other girl was a marathon runner O.o).

I think that's a good thing to do, because it makes the character realistic. I don't think a complete reflection is a great idea because then there's that tendency not to want to embarrass your character, or to write them into dramatic situations that you think sound cool, but which sound corny to your reader.

1/25/2008 #8
Christy Leigh Stewart
I would like to say none of my characters are modeled after myself, but I guess they all have a little of me in them...concidering I made them.

People on fictionpress seem to think some of my stories are true stories though...But I assure everyone, they aren't. And usually that assumption is offensive lol

In one of my stories, Welcome To The Universe, all the people that actually know me swear up and down I wrote one character, Nicholas, just like myself. That maybe so...but we are alike only in personality. I made him act in ways I never would.

So, I haven't ever written MYSELF into a story. If I did, the character wouldn't get the plot moving.

2/12/2008 #9
LucienofShadow
I try to avoid modeling any character after myself. While they may go through similar thought processes, I often find myself going back and altering that so they reach their conclusions in a way I wouldn't. But perhaps I'm over compensating. When I first began writing I was writing stories about myself, or myself as I thought I'd be later in life. So the instinct is there.
2/17/2008 #10
Audy
I think it's very much like what KnittingKneedle said, the writer is something like a parent to their characters. At least that is how I feel about my characters. I've never really compared myself to any of my characters, really, though I know that the similarities are probably there. It's not something you can help, if you write from your feelings, experiences, and thoughts etc. your character is going to have some semblance of you. The author has /some/ sort of voice in their work.

Just like a parent raises a child, writers instill their morals, values, and point of view into their characters and present them with a choice throughout the course of the story. We never force a character one way or the other (least not if we're good writers), we more or less guide them, and as a result by the end of the story there should be a significant improvement in character growth.

I've yet to meet a /fiction/ writer who bases their characters /entirely/ from themselves or another person. I'm doubtful that writing yourself in a story is going to make for a good read. Writers know their characters inside and outside, we know what motivates them, we know their innermost secrets, we know their utmost desires. I dunno if there is a person on earth who knows themselves that well.

I do believe that there are certain things in our lives, whether experiences or observations about people or this world, that we use and incorporate into our writing. I know that possible every single one of my characters might have "inherited" attributes from the many people I've come into contact with, but there are still just some wishful thinking here and there. Such as a minor character who is completely innocent and selfless--you might not have met a real person exactly like that, but if you had, here is how they would be. Or you might over-exaggerate certain attributes. You might have a clumsy friend--and a character who is so clumsy they keep tripping over everything and breaking things and stumbling, etc. etc. that character might be an exaggeration of your friend.

For me in general, I like to over-exaggerate some attributes that I have seen in other people and even in myself. Write what you know, right? --but use some imagination and creative spark to make it your own.

3/1/2008 #11
aka Providence
to answer the question -- yes, i put myself in my stories; a complete replica of myself in awesome kickass form. the main point in doing that is i'll never let that story that has me escape the prison of my mind, since it contains almost everything i don't want in a story. i have a galactic sized ego, so i need something to micromanage my arrogance before i semi-seriously write anything.
3/3/2008 #12
Thunderboom

Yes, my brother and I are the main characters a lot of the time.

Of course, our stories rarely resemble our actual lives....

5/16/2008 #13
Masked Mystery

Alot of the times, I will put some of myself into the story with the main character, but I will also add parts that aren't like me at all. I've used personalities and information of people I've met, or know. Like right now the story I am working on with the main female character; I'm using a personality that's all her own.

5/17/2008 #14
Exuberant Lemon

I have one story and it needs a review, which is the whole reason why I came here. It was pretty ironic that I found this topic because I though of myself and my own experiences when I was writting it. Each time I get an idea for a story it's because something just happened to me or I just saw something that made me think of other things. I always add things to make it more interesting though. Anyway, my story is not complete yet [not even that chapter!] and I want a review before I continue to see if people like it so far. It has a lot of sexual stuff in it so..yeah.

thnx.

6/6/2008 #15
BreakingLucinda

In my stories, a little bit of myself leeks in. I often unconsciously think, "Okay, if I were in this situation, what would I do?" and I'd be damned if that's not putting in a bit of yourself. Otherwise, there isn't a lot about me physically or mentally that goes into my stories. In fact, I like to take my characters and make aspects of their thoughts the opposite of my own. So when you blend yourself and something else together, it creates complexity (if you use it right, of course. If you use it incorrectly, it just makes it really confusing.) If I use any influence in my characters and story, it's probably from people I know. I don't mean taking their name and all and inserting them in a scenario, but just taking maybe some of their ideas and appearance and using it to my advantage in the story. Again, it makes things more interesting.

7/19/2008 #16
insanities

I always have a part of me in my characters, but how much depends on the story; sometimes I just retell things which really happened, with the sequence of events and the names changed, and when I do that the characters basically are me. But, for the most part, they're a part of my personality taken out of context and exaggerated, so that I can relate to them without being them.

7/19/2008 #17
heart shaped box x3

I always put a bit of me in my characters. And a lot are based off my friends. Like for instance, my main character always has a love of classic rock music and loves to write. A few of my characters often have tendencies to get drusturated easily. I do think that everyone's characters have a little bit of them in them. Like, you can't have your character have a thought process that you don't use, because you probably wouldnt understand it.

7/20/2008 #18
aka Providence

The only thing about me that I put in my recent stories is some of the quirks in the way I talk. I tend to repeat certain words to emphasize how I feel, since my tone of voice is bland and dry most of the time. Well... in any case other stuff about me that appear less frequently in my writing are some traits perfect for a sociopath.

7/20/2008 #19
TheDarqueOne

I create all my characters from the ground up, personality traits, background, the works. How much time I invest in each is based on how important to the story they are, or might become. I know that a lot of authors base characters on people they know, or composits of a couple but I almost never do that. Which makes it all the more odd that there is a character in my current story that is indeed partially based on a friend. Just kinda happened, which is just so like her.

I write First Person most of the time, so that means I have to 'play' the character to write them. It is pretty much like acting for me, I become them so I can think and write like they would. To do this I take some fragment of my own personality that I can use to connect to the character. I find feelings in myself that I can magnify or otherwise alter into the new character.

Now this next part is not easy to explain, and I kinda doubt it will help anybody but I will try. What I really do to become the new character is to compare my personality (decribed in the same terms I use to describe characters) to the character. This lets me see where their reactions would be different than mine. The character traits replace my own for a bit and I spend a few moments thinking like the character. I consider current events, relationship issues, and anything else that has happened reciently. I react to them as the character would. This is a warm-up, none of this stuff gets written down.

The more comfy with a character I become the easier it is to write them.

Oh, and as a side note, there are two resources that can be used to help to create complete well-rounded characters. The first is any good Role Playing Game, not an online or computer game, I am talking the original 'sit around a table' style. They breakdown characters, settings, pace, plot, the works. The second is any good book on Astrology. Forget about the prediction stuff and look at the personality charts. An Astrology book will show you the 12 basic personality types which is a good start, but when properly modified by the 12 Moon signs you end up with 144 types. More than enough to fill almost any story with unique characters.

Darque

(-)

7/21/2008 #20
Pages Stained With Ink

humm... good question.

My characters aren't me, I try hard not to base my main character on myself, or any character for that matter. Because when I'm writing I like to get inside my characters head, I really get into looking at the world from his/her point of view, and if the character is like myself or too similar that takes the fun away because I'm already looking at the world from my point of view. Some times my characters might have some similarities to me, but not too many. if you know what I mean?

I do sometimes base some of my less important characters after people I know or have known...

7/25/2008 #21
Pages Stained With Ink

humm... good question.

My characters aren't me, I try hard not to base my main character on myself, or any character for that matter. Because when I'm writing I like to get inside my characters head, I really get into looking at the world from his/her point of view, and if the character is like myself or too similar that takes the fun away because I'm already looking at the world from my point of view. Some times my characters might have some similarities to me, but not too many. if you know what I mean?

I do sometimes base some of my less important characters after people I know or have known...

7/25/2008 #22
Berserko

If I were to base any character in anything I wrote off of myself, I would probably just make it a character that wouldn't be in the story for long or have much of an impact.

8/10/2008 #23
TheDarqueOne

Is that a comment on your writing, or on your life B?

Darque

(-)

8/12/2008 #24
rassoodock

i think that the more personal the work is to you and the more you can relate to it, the more likely your mc is going to end up like some bastardized version of yourself. somedays i write really, really short stories through the eyes of a man or someone who isn't white or whatever so i can remind myself to slow it down with my mc. it's my worst habit character wise, making them too much like myself. i also base a lot of my other characters off of people i know. characters background stories are from people i know in real life. it's good to have inspiration, but i think i take it too far somedays.

8/14/2008 #25
Absolut Hooliganism

It's pretty much inescapable that you're going to put yourself into your work, so of course you'll wind up putting at least a little bit of yourself into the characters as these objects are more likely than not based on something you yourself have experienced or interpetated. That aside, I like to keep seperate the most part of my self and my characters, mainly because I think it's infuriating when you read something and you realise that, really, there are no characters, just mouthpieces for the author to use explicity for the purpose of forcing his or her worldview and opinion as the only correct way to perceive things.

Secondarily because when you put too much of yourself into characters the story will most likely come off as some sort of creepy wish-fulfillment fantasy. Of, course, there are exceptions to this, if something interesting enough to write about occurs and I think I can work into a story or even make an entire story based around this thing that happened I'll more than likely just apply my exact perspective to it, seeing as this thing would be something that I'M experiencing personally, not somebody else. Especially if I can play it for a good laugh (and honestly, Semi-Autobiographical stories and incidences have always fascinated me, so of course I'd include them anyways).

8/18/2008 . Edited 8/18/2008 #26
Virginia Giselle

To be honest, I usually make my characters similar to myself in different ways... some look like me, others act like me, and others think like me.. I feel like I can make them seem more realistic that way... That aside, I like to write pieces inspired by my life (memoirs kinda?) so, I am the main character...

9/5/2008 #27
Wallflower.x

I think i do put some of myself into my characters, i often think 'what would i say if i were in this situation' or 'what would someone i know say' i feel it helps me to create a realistic story.although in some aspects i like my characters to be the complete opposite of me, i feel i sneak in there a little bit, even in inconsiously. (does that make sense?)

9/10/2008 #28
Recontre Destinee

I'd never make myself or anybody I knew remotely close to a character I've written. People would kill me if I did. (Lol)

The closest I've come is in my story "Nightmare." Usually, I'm not writing realistic fiction, so I needed a bunch of realistic names. So, I wrote down all the first, middle and last names of my friends on pieces of paper, threw them into three separate hats and just drew names. For example... I have a friend named Matthew James and both his first and middle names are included as main characters in the books. This backfires occasionally, though... I ended up with an Elizabeth Jane Bennett by complete accident (Rofl. It's quite amusing to write her full name).

9/16/2008 #29
HannaThing

I feel this is a half-way controversial question. I always get into arguments with people over this.

Self inserts are nice and all, makes how a character responds easy, makes character creation easy. But at that point, it just becomes a fantasy of what you want your life to be, not a story. In my story Sanctuary of a Place Unknown, the only thing I have in comon with my main character is we are both artists, but that's all it is. Were I to meet Brier in real life, I'd probably beat the crap out of him. He's everything I hate in a person, and more. Then there's his friend, Delilah. She argues with her family, laughs at people pain, and pushes people into doing what she wants, nothing like my self. (I do, however, laugh at people's pain, just not to their faces like Delilah) It's all a matter of opinion, but I hate self insert characters. Still, it's hard to write a story without a little of yourself accidentaly slipping into the mix, just try to keep it to a minimum?

10/17/2008 #30
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