Chances are, if you’ve ever allowed friends or family to read your fiction, they’ve wondered if one of your characters were based on them.
I sent a close friend a copy of my novel and she immediately assumed the person who was murdered—described as a relatively empty headed, annoying person—was herself. I had based the murder victim on someone I knew, but it wasn’t my close friend and I was surprised that she would see herself in the character.
I’ve also had family members ask me, “When did that happen to you?” Of course, the event may have loosely happened to me or to someone I knew, but I’m always shocked that people, knowing they’re reading a novel, assume that I’m writing a journal rather then a complete work of fiction.
One of the novels I’m working on is about three sisters, murder and an abusive father. I have two sisters who I know will assume the characters are all about them. My father, who will never read the book unless and until it’s published, will without a doubt, assume the story is all about him. He will be furious. He will also be wrong.
Part of my enjoyment in writing is to create things that I haven’t seen, to shape a world that I can control and to meet people I don’t know. I take a little bit of this, a little bit of that and mix it together to hopefully create something enjoyable to read. Parts of me, parts of my friends, parts of the truth and parts of what never would or could happen. I use it all.
And if anyone did ask me, “Is that character me?” and it was– I’d quickly and easily lie.