Family, Friends, Fiction

This week we were asked if we wrote any characters based on real people.

I know we have touched on this at one time in the past, but as I was running through my head about characters that I had brought up, it hit me that in many of my works characters are based on people that I have known.

The reason for some of this is that many of my completed writings are based on things that happened to, near, or around me, although others have not. Those that have not have characters whom I do not know.

Or should I say, “did not know”.

People think that the couple in my biggest work of fiction is based on my husband, me, and our relationship, but that is not so. I only borrowed a few situations from our lives because it was low-hanging fruit and I could easily write them in quickly to fit the story so that I could concentrate on the tension, the mystery, and the characters. However, one character who is never seen,( but spoken of often), is based on someone I know.

Everyone else comes from my imagination, and they were great fun to ‘meet’.

This was the first complete hitherto unthought-of story that lept to mind that I felt I had to write and the characters came and went on their own. For instance, the couple fought; I had not seen it coming and I could hardly type fast enough to keep up with their barbs.

There are several relationships and situations going in that story, one of which involved four younger people. However, like many of that generation, I could not get them to cooperate with me, so they were only used as walk-on characters,

(I showed them!)

On the other hand, two other characters invited themselves to join the couple at lunch, and I had not planned that. Fortunately, I found that they provided the answer as to how another situation was going to present itself, (how the husband would be away from the wife for a while). It also led me to have the wife do something that was certainly not planned, and I think that it really helped with the story.

(Thanks, Guys!)

On the other hand, being of a generally literal mind and having written and published more non-fiction,(and poetry based on what I felt was truth), I found that writing about things that happened to me and or family members has been easy, (more low-hanging fruit?). I have changed some things, particularly the end of one that was based on an evening of odd occurrences I experienced with my niece. Everything except the ending was what actually happened and what was said that evening, with a little editing to make the ending plausible.

While speculating on this post, I felt a fear that I have been lazy in creativity, but reflecting on what I have finished, I find that I have used my imagination quite a bit. The song lyrics that I used to write were a surprise to everyone, including myself, and I believe that only one line in one song was inspired by my life. I only used my first initial when copyrighting the songs and the award for one, from a man’s POV, came addressed to “Mr. T. Joyce”, so I guess my creativity was in full swing, since no one ever confused me for being a man before, or since, which is fine, since I haven’t tried to pass as one in any way, except with those songs.

It is amazing how the mind works while writing, isn’t it?


About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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10 Responses to Family, Friends, Fiction

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    I’ve always been fascinated when some of my characters just “take off” —and I have to type furiously just to keep up with them.
    So… what was that incident with your niece and the odd evening someplace?


    • I know I must have spoken of it here. It was an unusual night. We traveled to a book signing and her car, which has been recently ‘fixed’, but it acted up. We decided to go in and enjoy ourselves with a favorite author at the time, and then call for a tow truck. A strange series of things happened, the driver acted oddly, things he said were sometimes disturbing; it was all very creepy. I actually wrote it into a play and have tried several times to work it into a written story, but I keep being sidetracked.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I’ve often used situations or scenes from real life, too. The nice thing about this is that I can manipulate the ending to suit my plot!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, when I told everyone the story in the following couple of days, everyone said that I should write it, and more than one suggested that I change the ending. The real ending was terribly funny.


  3. Miss Worm says:

    I hesitate to say that my characters are not real people, because they certainly exist somewhere. They turn up as fully fledged beings, with no say so on my part.
    I cannot make my characters do anything they don’t want to. Villains have turned out to be heroes and people that were supposed to be heroes – well, the less said about them, the better! Walk-on parts have stayed for the entire series, and others were so shy, I couldn’t get them to appear at all. They really do have a life of their own.
    Perhaps it’s because I write in the first person? Perhaps omniscient narrators automatically become more ‘god’ like?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t really think that the POV has much to do with characters acting as they do, (or as they won’t do, as the case may be!) No, like us and God, they have free will and we can’t make them do anything. I often wonder if that is why some people get writer’s block; they aren’t listening to their characters.
      I had a villain turn out to be the ‘good’ one and in the story about the couple, I always thought that the wife was the one to figure it all out, but it ended up being the husband.
      Thanks for coming back. I hope that you will drop in as often as you can.


  4. Elaine Cantrell says:

    I’ve had characters to gang up on me and refuse to do what I told them to do. One was so insistent that he was in two of my books. I sometimes use things that happened in real life in my writing. I sent one of my books to a publisher who looked at it, and he sent a nice letter back saying it wasn’t very realistic. The joke’s on him. Almost every one of the things that happened in the story happened to either me or my family. It’s not my fault his family is boring, LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Elaine Cantrell says:

      Now that I think about it, I should have added the story of the time my sister fell into an old Civil War grave. She was just standing beside it, and it caved in under her feet. She fell in up to her knees. I can think of some good ways to embellish that story.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m dying here, Elaine! I have told stories that others could not believe and I wonder about how quiet their lives must be! When writing, family members who have read some, (or that I told them about, since they don’t usually see my work), complain that I leave details out of what really happened. I tell them that one, people don’t have to know EVERYTHING, and two, who would believe it?
      Oh, DO use that story about your sister! My family would never let me live that down if it happened to me!

      Liked by 1 person

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