Rules For Using Your Crazy Cousin or Hook Up Go To Person As Characters

Fiction writers are always looking for inspiration for the characters in their novels. The one legged whino who has a speech impediment the overly loud dressing uncle or the in everybody’s business neighbor are all good subjects but are there rules to obey before putting them in a story?

Yes and no. They are not necessarily rules but more like common sense logic.

Don’t assume the barber who has been cutting your hair since you were two is ok with you using him as a character in your novel. Ask before you write him in there.

Don’t use real names. If you wanna remain friends or family don’t use real names. It will come back to bite you in the ass later. Think about it, you become this big time author and one of two things will happen, 1) they will want a cut of your book sells or 2) they will become haters and do what they can to drag your name in the mud because misery loves company. So to save yourself switch up those names.

Try not to base your character all on one person you know. At some point your real life character will get offended by the book’s character; even a tiny act or strange dialog might tip them off. To prevent a string of ‘do I really act like this’ or like some annoying toddler whining, ‘are we there yet’ mix it up so they won’t quite figure it out.

What do I mean? Take a piece of personality or demeanor from several people and incorporate it into one person but don’t contradict the character’s movements or beliefs. Something I learned from author Terri McMillan-use job applications for character profiles. Genius.

Did I miss anything? What are some tricks you use to create memorable characters? Do you even use people in your real life for characters? Let’s conversate about it.

Peace and luv!


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