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April 9, 2010

Living Vicariously Through Our Characters...

In my personal Facebook profile, I wrote:

I think I would really like to be as flirtatious and charming, as fun and charismatic, as my characters are.

As authors, we are always asked, "Where do you get the inspiration for your characters?" the variation of it, "Is your character based on you or aspects of you?" or even, "Which part of (character's name) is based on you?"

My characters come from me. As a friend said, "You gave birth to them."

I have a role playing character who is, for all intents and purposes, a spoiled brat. She's the daughter of a Russian diplomat, is covered by the diplomatic immunity, is rich, and beautiful. She's both fiercely independent and outspoken for what she believes in, and yet she hides her insecurities of being used for her connections, her money, or used against her father. She wants to be loved for herself, she wants to be a good person, use her connections and money to help people in need, without the usual gratitude or publicity that tends to come with it. She doesn't trust very easily, will run background checks on people she meets, and if there are any holes in someone's identity, background, or any mysteries whatsoever, she does her damned best to discover what it is and why. She's my most social character. She goes to clubs, she flirts, she chats up people. People want to be around her. I find her to be very easy to role play and yet I'm the exact opposite of her.

I have another character who is an up and coming songstress. She's known as the city's angel due to her beautiful voice. When she sings, she can make grown men weep, melt the most hardened of hearts, and yet she's so shy and inhibited of people. She watches from the outside, wanting to be a part of something more but has no idea how. She's so loving and accepting, soft and gentle, but hides herself away from the world. She's the most like me in the wanting more but not knowing how. She's also very easy to role play for me.

Another character is not human. She's a shifter, recently come into her abilities and has a hell of a time trying to be both human and shifter. She's trying to deal with the problems that come with being both. She was a wolf who shifted to human, so learning the intricacies of being human is difficult for her and she's constantly making mistakes. She's seen as a child because she's new to the human world (although she's an adult in her wolf life) and with the mistakes she's makes. She wants to be taken seriously, wants more of life, is frustrated. Again, like me.

Playing them/writing them and BEING them is two separate things in my mind. I think that's why I can't LARP either (barring the fact there's no group nearby). I just can't BE my characters like that. I'm too...inhibited, lacking in self confidence.

And yet, I get many people who write to me and tell me after reading my stuff, they're amazed by how 'real" my characters are. They can sympathize with them, with how the characters feel, because I write them so realistically. Their pains, their joys, their fears are the readers' pains, joys, and fears.

However, giving birth to them, creating them, writing their lives, doesn't make me that character. I will never be thin, lithe, graceful, beautiful, or have innate paranormal abilities. I will never be flirtations, charming, charismatic, or outgoing.


morseren said...

Dear Isobael, you may not be the things you list that your characters are and you are not but...more are the creative genius who brought them all to life. And that is far greater still because you can *be* all they are and more through your wonderful writing:)

You really *are* your characters and so very much more.

Love always,

Piedmont Writer said...

We are all a part of humanity in the larger scope of things so I think, as writers we can encompass so much more than 'we' really are.

I would love to play the piano but one of my characters plays it so beautifully he makes the angels cry. and the only reason HE can do that is because I have a love of piano.

No matter who you are, your characters "are" you, they come from you. Only YOU know what makes them them.

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