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Fictional Characters

Where do your characters come from when you write?

I’ve heard people say they are inspired by people they know, or people they’ve met. Or historical figures.

I write from a less-intentional perspective, and I don’t know where characters come from. Sometimes I wake from a dream and think that it was a good story, so I write it down. My novel Virtual Silence started that way. I even included the dream in the manuscript.

Something will happen at work and I’ll think, “That was interesting, or funny, and it should go into a story of mine.” So I email it to myself.

I rarely sit down and think about what needs to happen next. It just comes when I’m calm (and caffeinated).

So this is why I’m curious, if you write at all, where do your characters or stories come from? What is your muse?

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6 thoughts on “Fictional Characters

    • So you feel that your stories are often plot-driven? For whatever reason, mine tend to be dictated by the characters, although there is a basic goal to be met by each story.

  1. Characters should have traits we recognize as plausibly human, so that’s why we tend to base them on people we know: our aunt, the mailman, that loner down the street who lives with 23 cats. Story is (usually) the way those characters interact — what does he want? What does she want? What do they do to get it? The writer has failed when the reader says, “Oh, please. That kind of person would never do that!”

  2. I really buy into the whole “a part of you is in each of your characters” theory. A lot of their struggles to some degree mirror my own, and hopefully, those of my readers. You know , the human struggle and all that jazz 😉 but honestly, for me it does come with just the writing. They sort of develop themselves.

    • I can hear the characters telling their own stories, but it’s logical to assume this comes from practice, and a lot of people-watching. Learning to listen is a great way to get material for writing, whether one is conscious of it or not.

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