14 April, 2015

Romance Weekly Blog Hop - My Characters, Myself

It's Tuesday again, and that means another fun and informative blog hop involving Romance Novelists and the questions asked of their craft.

Thank you for hopping on over after a visit to Patti Fiala.

This week, Xio Axelrod poses the following: Readers always ask "How much of yourself do you lend to your characters?" Here's your chance to answer. What traits do your characters have that come from you? And if not you, someone in your life.

This is another great question, and I hope my answer is just as great while also being informative yet succinct.

A little.

I should probably expound just a little, too.

As for me personally, not much of myself goes into my fictional characters. Well, it is true that I'm involved when it comes to things such as likes, dislikes, preferences, and hobbies. I'm very particular about certain things, and my characters tend to be that way, too.

But, I don't like that it does and work hard to eliminate 'me' from the equation when I catch it cropping up in my writing.
My love of things like astronomy, astrology, beaches, tropical places, flying, travel, music, and even solitude tend to make their way into the hearts of my characters. But, I think that's because they're comfort zones I feel 100% about and therefore don't worry about making any errors in judgment or fact.

My characters aren't me, though, and more about what I'd like to be . . . maybe. Although that probably sounds as if I live vicariously through them, which isn't true, either.
My male pro/antagonists are usually the types of men I'm attracted to/abhor in real life. My female leads are most-often women who are the opposite of me. However, their personalities are of those I've known or admire in real life.

I've met all sorts of people who have gone above & beyond, who continue to slip up and never learn, those who shine without much effort, and those who do amazing things yet live in the shadows.

My inspiration always comes from them. From those I've known over the years, knew back in middle and high school, and right up to present-day and 2nd-round college.

Lots of nasty bitch/bastards who make great antagonists, a few sweethearts with soul who make ideal protagonists, some quirky characters who fill the void as third-party, and a few surprises from the past who cropped up again on Facebook and showed me their true (50+) colors. These guys help me see that it is entirely possible to teach old dogs new tricks and how best to arrive at happily-ever-after.

So many stories, some interesting lives, such unbelievable challenges, tear-jerking scenarios, true love conquers all, etc.

The leads in my stories are never entirely fictitious. Their appearances are my imagination, and of course, it's important that their story isn't unraveled between the pages of my work since I believe in right-to-privacy.

In my first published novel, Liv's story is 96% true. And, it happened to a girl I met in middle school. She wasn't entirely 15 yet when some boy took advantage of her at a house party. By the time I heard what was going on in a back bedroom -- with a number of boys -- it was too late.

I think what we all do as novelists is to take that interesting aspect and weave it into something readable; something grand that takes its own path toward its own destiny. The people we meet, the stories they share, and the experiences they've undergone are just springboards for our imagination.

This latest novel I'm working on has my own personal elements in it involving a family curse. I've heard about it for as long as I can remember and liked that gypsies were involved on my dad's side. From there, I created fictitious characters to help unravel the mystery surrounded a what-if type scenario.

I want to believe that I keep my values, beliefs, and ideals out of my writing. I'd hate to alienate anyone by being judgmental about things like sex, religion, way-of-life, country mouse/city mouse . . .

I probably lean more toward the alter-ego author. They're people with personalities I wish I possessed. That awesome laugh that makes everyone want to laugh, the magnetic presence that draws strangers without trying, being lovable, like-able, kind, considerate, outgoing, fearless, adventuresome, or emotionally attached without losing self.

I bring that to my characters.

As always, I thank you kindly for stopping by and reading my response. Now it's time to hop on over and visit with Fiona Riplee to find out how she responds.

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  1. I'd bet that the personality traits of your characters that you wish you had, you most likely do. Wonderful post, Raine.

    1. Thanks, Gemma :D The more I think about this one, the more I realize it might be true that I insert myself into my characters. There are a few personal 'issues' that tend to crop up inside my stories. Sometimes I leave them as they are and other times I delete it and rework the content.

  2. Great post, Raine! I understand the desire to write aspirational characters. I try as well. =)