Thursday, August 3, 2017

Characters in a book

I get asked quite often how I form a character in a book and if the character strongly resembles anyone in particular from my life. There are, of course, a lot of answers for that, but the general answer is that yes, most characters are based off of attributes of people I know.

Now, I have never written a character that is a single representation of a single person. Let's take for example AJ McCallister, the Healer from my first novel. He's a mix of a few different people. AJ is kind and courageous, strong and loyal. He also is anxious and brooding and angry. He feels both saddled and blessed by his gift, and he wants to both protect others and hide away from the world. AJ is innocent and yet still jaded by what he's seen and experienced, and he's extremely thoughtful and careful, almost to a fault. And each of the pieces of his personality that make him great or make him weak are the very things that make him unique. He's got pieces of my strong and courageous husband, a couple of close friends who are loyal and fearless, and even the innocence of past teenage love. 

There's Helen, who's modeled and named after my mom's best girlfriends and their wonderfully beautiful motherly instincts; and Matthew, who is always willing to help and is shaped after one of the best neighbors I've ever known. 

And Addie, who is a little bit me and a little bit my girlfriends. She's fiesty and smart and strong and weak and just wants to be loved.

Each character has aspects of various people I've cared for and loved, which makes them special to me - and makes them come to life in the stories. 

There are also characters who have nothing to do with anything other than my imagination. Luckily, I've never known anyone as dark and deceptive as Devin. And Benjamin is just a fun representation of a kindly old man. 

Writing is an outlet for daydreams and imagination. It's also a way for me to cement in history the things I've adored about certain people in a way that keeps them going in perpetuity. And that's the real magic of a story - being able to read it again and know that the best parts of the people I've loved are captured forever in words.

Speaking of which, I'm off to finish another chapter in my newest manuscript. I've written about AJ more in depth before on my blog, if you care to read on - otherwise,  if you haven't yet, you can read his book by downloading it free tomorrow at And then try and guess who that trait is based on! 

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