I need to get one of those T-shirts that says, “Be careful or you’ll end up in my novel.” That’s because literally everything anyone says or does is fair game for my writing. Just ask Hubby, who has developed a persecution complex and anxiety just waiting to see what I will say about him next. Fortunately, Older and Younger Son don’t read my blog. Otherwise, they’d probably disown me. But people are so downright quirky that besides being blog fodder, they make great characters for my books.
I saw a great Meme that said, “I’m a writer. If I’m staring at you, I’m not being rude. I’m trying to decide if you need to go in a book. If you’re a snot, I may be trying to decide how to kill you.” I have a number of people who have ended up in my books. Don’t ask if you’re one of them. I will say no. I even have a disclaimer in the front of my books saying any resemblances to persons living or dead are purely coincidental and are purely a product of my imagination. If you run across a character that sounds suspiciously like you, rest assured, it could be, although I will deny it. A lot of what passes for fiction has a basis in reality. Many events that happen in real life are just too crazy to make up. But don’t worry. Many people who have read my books say they can see me in them, so apparently, I’m good at putting myself in my books, too. What that says about me, I don’t know and don’t care to analyze, other than I can always make myself look better in a book than I do in real life.
I once had an editor who told me my main character wasn’t likable. That was a sucker-punch to my gut since there was a lot of myself in the character. Apparently, everyone doesn’t appreciate my gift of sarcasm disguised as humor (or vice-versa). This same editor also wanted to change one of my truly unlikable characters into a sympathetic soul. Go figure. If I wanted the reader to sympathize with the jerky, unlikable character, I would have written him differently. He was supposed to be unlikable. I just chalked the editor’s comments up to “not getting me.” If only everyone appreciated my true, artistic genius, my writing would be much easier.
Putting people into my novels is a wonderful way to work out my passive-aggressive tendencies without actually having to confront someone. Okay, I’m not really passive-aggressive (usually), but human nature is so full of interesting oddities that my imagination just gravitates to them. Sometimes I will make a composite character out of two or three people—which can really get a lot of milage out of multiple idiosyncrasies. Add a little literary freedom to spice the character up even more, and wah-lah! A perfect, less-than-perfect character who the reader will either love or hate, depending on how I write them. So, it’s probably best to stay on my good side. Just sayin’. If you’re going to end up in my novel, you want to be a lovable character. Trust me. Otherwise, the editor may make me re-write you. You don’t want that.