“Has anyone ever asked you to add them to one of your stories?” -OR- “Have you told anyone that you were basing a character on them?”
My long-ago idea, and again, I forgot to make notes.
I have had people tell me that they would like to be a character, but so far, those requests have been avoided.
It’s not that I don’t want to add the people, it’s just that my stories are generally driven by: A) actual events,
B) the characters themselves,
C) characters don’t always cooperate.
I start off with a story in mind and the general idea usually stays while writing, but oh, man! Those little stinkers, the characters, usually have their own personalities and have their own ideas.
I could be struck telling folks that the person based on them is, well, behaving differently than they themselves might, (and probably wouldn’t), so it was no longer based on them, (and then they would expect me to change them back. Non-writers don’t understand.)
Of course, there is the problem that if I did manage to truly base the characters on them that seldom do people have an accurate idea as to how they seem to other people, whether other people are writers or not.
So when, “Would you make me a character in one of your stories?”, comes up, the answer is a general, “I’m sorry, but the characters usually pop up within the story”… unless it’s based a true story, and then I say, “You ALMOST are, since I am writing a story based on when …”
I always say, “I am writing”, as opposed to “I have written” to have a way to stop many of them from asking to read the story, complain and try to edit the work.
On the other hand, I have told someone that I was basing a character on her, but I have not been specific. With her unique situation, anyone would know I was talking about this friend, after all, how many people do you know whose family owns/owned most of a Caribbean resort island ? That person will certainly see herself when /if she reads on story, and being her, she will not be upset over the places that are not exactly like her life. I wanted to use a great deal about her and she is thrilled.
Nothing embarrasses this woman. Even though nothing is about my character is really shown in a bad light, telling some of what I did might not sit well with others; this young woman hides nothing; in fact, I watered it down a bit! Of course, I did not use her name.
Actually, that may upset her. But I needed the name to be changed, as you will see when you finally read it.
Others think that they see themselves being portrayed badly, when all I want to do is use part of a story akin to something that resembled a similar situation in which they had been involved.
They want conversations to be verbatim and it be an actual account of what transpired,
AND they’d like it to be from their own perspective. I get more of that, unfortunately, than people wanting to be characters.
People should be careful what they ask for.
I am not about to be let myself in for a threatening or “so disappointed” situation.
Perhaps the topic of : “If people have THOUGHT they have seen themselves in your stories and how they reacted”, would be more interesting.
I will name characters after people, though I have yet to do so in a bad light.
I may, in the future, use names as weapons or as a cathartic move, but so far, I have only used names in tribute.
I was happy when a novelist decided that she liked my name and used it for a character only mentioned once in her book. She did not then know me well, but I would have done what the character was going to do and I was very pleased.
I hope that people and even their pets, some of whom have graced these pages, will be happy to see characters named after them in my works.