I like it when the line gets a bit fuzzy myself 🙂 Great article!
Good vs. bad is a common theme everywhere. It’s in novels: your protagonist is “good” and no matter what genre you’re writing in, there’s always a “bad” guy who happens to be the villain of the story, your protagonist’s rival, or simply just someone who is mean and considered “bad” by the readers.
This theme pops up (a little too frequently) in real life as well.
It’s probably one of the more common ones and it’s the broadest because there’s so much you can do with it.
But here’s the thing: Everyone has different opinions, different perspectives. So, who exactly is good and who is bad? Who’s right and who’s wrong?
When you think of a hero, you think “good.” When you think of a villain, you think “bad.”We assume the protagonist is automatically good because they’re the “protagonist.” And we assume the antagonist is bad because they’re in competition…
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This wonderful quote really captures the essence and process of writing for me.
I love that I don’t know exactly where the story will take me when I start.
I love that ideas just pop up as I am writing, and also when I am not.
I love that some ideas are so good you just want to jump up and down, and you wonder, where did that idea come from?
Ideas don’t arrive in a vacuum though. We feed and nurture them in our subconscious mind by reading other books, reading articles, and reading and thinking about what we have already written in our current work in progress.
So, if we want our ideas to flourish, we need to take the time and the care to provide the perfect environment for them to thrive in.
Doing this is really simple, we just need to Read, Read, Read!
“For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”
― Anne Lamott,
Once upon a time, I aspired to own a home where I could dedicate a room to a library.
I imagined the walls filled with all the beautiful books I had collected over the years.
I imagined it becoming a legacy.
I imagined it as a window into my life and my book reading journey.
I imagined growing old and looking back on those books with fond memories.
And then along came a Kindle “sigh”.
Some writers (A) are very open about putting people they know in their book, whether it is revenge (never be mean to a writer), or for less nefarious reasons (I admire you, I love you, I like you, you are fun, you are interesting).
Some writers (B) deny all, even vague, linkage between real people and the fictional characters in their book.
I’m going to let you into a secret. If you know a writer . . . you are almost certainly, okay definitely, in their book!
So, are these writers (B) lying? Are they seeking to mislead you?
No, not really, it’s more of a—subconscious inclusion—that a writer cannot possibly help.
The thing is, that a writer crafts their story out of their imagination, which is made up of everything they have ever seen, everything they have ever heard, and everything they have ever read. And while much of this input is from other works of fiction, a large percentage of it comes from everyday life, and that’s right—the writer’s friends, family, and colleagues . . . and even their pets!
I collect names. I love names, especially quirky, or interesting names. Whenever I hear a name that I like, I jot it down. I might not have a character for it yet, or maybe I will rename an old character because I like it better. Either way, names are something we often consciously, or subconsciously use (and even avoid).
Yep, I collect personalities too. Now, you may be FREAKING OUT if your writer friend has put a character with your name in their book who is a complete buffoon! Is that how the writer sees you?
Not quite. Writers have a tendency to mash things together. A friends name (who is not a buffoon), may be merged with another person they know who is really clumsy, and the random guy from the petrol station who couldn’t work out how to use the pump, and their pet dog who is adorably loopy! Yep, all this really does go into a single character. And then they give it YOUR name! And they are not all even human, or the same sex! That’s just wrong!
That’s writers for you.
By now, you are probably getting a bit of an idea of how this works. And let me tell you that appearance is the worst one of all. It’s like a manic identikit has been let lose on the fictional world. Hair from this person, eyes from that person, body build from that person, a little magic dust, and voila, you have a complete abomination—just kidding, they turn out fine, mostly.
So, in answer to the above question ‘do writers really put you in their book’, the answer is still, yes, they most certainly do. 🙂