The character and you…

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been of the opinion that characters carry some facet of the author’s personality within them. Often, authors refer to their characters as a part of them and they refer to their novels as a window into their souls. I’ve always been fine with this, and in pre-NaNo days, I simply accepted it to be true.

Now, however, I have a problem. After finishing NaNoWriMo ’11, I was of the opinion that a completely unedited (and incomplete) RotP would make a fantastic Christmas present. I sent it to my parents and my two best friends and waited for the praise to come flooding in (I was a bit naive back then).

Once he had completed RotP, my absolutely wonderful father sat me down for a little chat. He looked at me with a very concerned expression across his face and asked, “Why are all the fathers bad?”

Now, I ask all of you, my lovely readers, does the fact that almost all of the fathers in RotP are bad/evil mean something about my own views of my parents? Or am I simply reading too much into this? Also, have any of you had a moment of realization when became quite clear that your novel revealed something personal that wasn’t quite ready to be revealed?

Also, Daddy (yes, I still call him Daddy, stop snickering), if you’re reading this, please know that you have been and always will be a fantastic father. The actions of all the evil guys in RotP have no effect on, and are, by no means, a reflection of my view of you, no matter what the commenters say πŸ™‚


9 thoughts on “The character and you…

  1. Speaking from experience, some of my works have a bit of me in them, but others do not. I’m a character driven writer and love the creation of different personalities. I live a rather dull life and want to step outside myself when writing. That’s not to say that I haven’t created characters that are very similar to me and people I know. But when you get into the meat of the story, the characters take on a life of their own, separate from those real life people that influenced them. When all is said and done, my characters rarely reflect me or anyone I know.

    That being said, there will always be someone thinking you wrote about them whether in a negative or positive light.

  2. I can testify to the fact that very little of myself or my family is seen in my writing. I had a happy, normal family and childhood. Boring! Readers want to see bad people receive their just deserts or else be redeemed (like Scrooge). My life’s experiences would put people to sleep.

    However, the emotions and reactions are very much me. I don’t know how it feels to break my arm, but I know physical pain. I can write about a character breaking her arm and use my emotions from other painful injuries to describe it in fiction. I don’t know what it’s like to have a parent murdered, but I know how it feels to have one die. I can draw on the loss, the shock, and the hurt of a parent’s death in real life to write about a fictional death.

    Romance authors, especially, get the dirty wink-wink questions or remarks about writing love scenes. My stock answer is “I don’t have to shoot somebody to describe a murder!”

    • Thanks so much for the support πŸ™‚ I think that deep down I knew that, but sometimes it’s great to have people point it out.

      I love that answer! I’ll have to employ it sometime in the future!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I know what you mean about your Daddy. My father was absolutely wonderful and when a father figure on my books does something terrible, I cringe because my daddy was so great. It is hard for me to imagine a bad father and really have to to do a lot of research.

  4. I’ve written a lot characters who have bits of me, bits of others I know, but if I write a drug-addicted mother who chooses her habit over her children, that’s not a reflection on my own mother. The deadbeat father in no way represents my own dad. My parents are great, still married after almost 38 years and neither do drugs or abandoned me and my sister.

    Like Missy said, there will always be someone who reads more of themselves in a character you’ve written, or wonders and worries that you view them differently, simply because you wrote it. I think it’s especially true of our closest loved ones. They read our work and try to decipher whether they see you or themselves or others within your family or circle of friends that they recognize.

    Our characters start with bits of us & others we know- like tiny particles of DNA, but what that “child” (or children) grows into generally morphs into much more, whether for good or bad. It takes all kinds and realistically, stories have to have heroes/heroines and villains. Sometimes it’s the abusive father, sometimes the crazy mother-in-law, the hateful grandparents, the controlling aunt or uncle or the creepy next door neighbor. It doesn’t mean every one of those people in our own lives have those characteristics. It just means we’ve had to attribute certain not-so-great characteristics to that character for the purpose of the story.

    Try not to worry about it and rest assured, deep down your dad KNOWS you meant nothing toward him. Perhaps it’d be easier if he knew that he set such a good example as a father, that you were able to imagine what a bad father would be like. πŸ˜‰

    • Thanks so much for your support. I think that deep down I knew that he didn’t view RotP as a reflection of his parenting skills, but it’s wonderful to have all of you weighing in to support my hunch. In other news, he read the post and sent me a quick note that essentially said that he by no means saw the fathers in RotP as personifications of himself.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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