Monday, April 18, 2011

Characters Resembling Their Authors


Characters resemble their authors in some way.



Not so long ago I ran into a discussion about story/novel characters resembling their authors. Do they, or do they not? My first thought was that yes, of course that characters will be in some way similar to their authors, and then I remembered.

When I was eighteen, I wrote a story called The Wind of Hammal. It was about an old, senile sorceress. When the wind of Hammal, the city of sorcerers, the magical wind, blew, she could partially remember her glorious past and her punishment and her exile; as the wind lessened, so did her mind. That story was merely an experiment; I have attempted to write from a point of view of someone quite different from me, so a senile old lady seemed like a good contrast to my youth and my sharp mind.

I loved the result of the experiment. I loved creating someone so different from myself. Over the years, while some of my characters were similar to me, although more extreme (hey, it was fiction!), others were quite different. Some of them were not even human (such as a non-material being haunting a house), how's that for different? And yet...

And yet, all of them had something of mine. The non-human, non-material being enjoyed silence. Dying twelve-year-old girl dreamed of wings. Cats were definitely like me, with their wicked sense of humor. The senile old sorceress? With the last remains of her mind, she was weaving a story.

I also remembered what the actor Alexander Skarsgard said: that he couldn't possibly play a certain role if he couldn't find anything of that character within himself. He wouldn't know how to do it.

I wouldn't know how to do it either.

So, yes, my characters, old or young, male or female, human or not, resemble me in some way. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. But they always have something of mine; with all the research I could possibly do, I wouldn't know how to create them otherwise.

Would you?

7 comments:

Helen Smith said...

Great photo!

Karen Wojcik Berner said...

Saw your post on the She Writes blogging thread and wanted to check it out.

You have a very valid point. I think all characters have bits and pieces of their authors in them. It makes it a little easier to relate to them while writing their words, thoughts and emotions. Rather like actors who try to look for that one common element to make their performances believable, writers hold on to that nugget to make characters well-balanced and relatable.

angel011 said...

@Helen: Thanks!

@Karen: I'm glad you liked it.

Kelly Hashway said...

Sometimes I create characters that are more like the person I'd like to be rather than the person I am. That's fun. Usually at least one of my personality traits slips into my characters though.

angel011 said...

Kelly, I think we all create those we'd like to be, at least sometimes. And I think they will always have at least some of our personal traits; while not created directly after us, they are, in a way, based on us.

Cathy said...

And thus even when we're writing fiction we're 'writing what we know'!

angel011 said...

True... Even when we write fiction we have to base it on something that we know.