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Character Traits

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    I can see where a lot of my main characters are based on me. What I've started doing though is to watch others and imagine what their experiences might be. Sometimes I will purposely take it to areas where I am uncomfortable. That discomfort is a great source of inspiration.

    Vulgarity has been quite common in my life. Sometimes I have to work very hard to keep it out of my work, but then I just say Fuck It!



      Originally posted by mlouisdixon View Post
      Sometimes I have to work very hard to keep it out of my work, but then I just say Fuck It!
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        Originally posted by Craig Wallwork View Post
        What can't your character's engage in?'s...hard to talk about.

        It's...preparing taxes.




            Originally posted by portrait in flesh View Post
  's...hard to talk about.

            It's...preparing taxes.
            Nooooooo!!!! Please, no! Say it isn't so. The horror, the horror.

            Didn't James Mitchner have an entire chapter devoted to this, in exquisite detail, in one of his books?
            "Dance until your feet hurt. Sing until your lungs hurt. Act until you're William Hurt." - Phil Dunphy ("Modern Family"), from Phil's-osophy.


              Hmm. My main characters are predominantly the opposite gender, they're men, so it's hard for me to figure out if they have any of my traits or not. :/


                I find that many of my main characters share my sense of humor, or other minor personality traits, with the occasional one or two being thinly-veiled versions of myself. For the most part, though, they are wholly different. Nothing in my fiction is based on people I know or things they've done, which makes finding their narrative voice a challenge, at times.

                I do think that folks who write fiction must pour parts of themselves into the writing. Good fiction, I think, is derived from the author living vicariously through their characters. Which isn't to say the author wants to feel what they do in real life. It simply means that they put themselves in the characters' shoes. and experience what they do. When a writer is too emotionally removed from his subject, they run the risk of the reader feeling the same way. Which isn't to say you need a sympathetic protagonist, merely one who feels real enough for us to give a rat's ass about them. If they feel wooden, I automatically don't invest myself in their exploits, and thus end up not caring where the story is going.

                Which reminds me of one of the pitfalls of writing characters who don't resemble the author (not necessarily the protagonist; I'm talking about side-characters and villains, too): failing to give the voice believability. If someone writes about an addict or a bank robber or a murderer, or even a dentist who's bored with their life, I feel they should be aware that what they're doing is a challenge, and to not take it for granted. Because it's very easy for a writer to sound like they're trying too hard to sound like a type person they are not, or who has habits they don't share. It's a tough balancing act, and I admire the folks who try, whether they succeed or not. I think a lot of folks in the contest succeeded.