A few years ago, my mom gave me a shirt that says, “Careful, or you’ll end up in my novel” across the front.
That shirt pretty much sums up me. I write fiction, fantasy, sci-fi type stories, true, but all of my characters have to come from something. Most of them come from other stories I’ve heard, people I’ve encountered in my life, people who impacted me in a brief meeting. I try not to put people I know in my stories because, let’s be honest, most people don’t want to find themselves in a story in which their character dies/loses true love/is absolutely insane.
So if I’m warning you to be careful or you’ll get a story with you in it, that’s a pretty genuine warning. I don’t write stories with ‘happily ever after’ endings very often. More usually, the main character is left with a moral dilemma, a guilty conscience, a history they’er trying to hide. The minor character are either written off [aka, killed] or they turn traitor or are in some other way found to be unsavory characters. More often than not, the narrator [I usually use first person narration] is less than reliable; they should be institutionalized.
If I write you into a story, you’ll either be the character everyone loves that ultimately dies, or you’ll be the evil villain who appears awesome until he/she is discovered to be the one who killed that favorite character.
People often ask me if I write myself into stories.
Loaded question, folks…
I often write myself into a story. In fact, in every story, there is an image of me. I’m never entirely in the story, though. The character who is ‘me’ always has something about her that I don’t have in me. Whether that’s in physical features, character traits, or something about the way she talks, a character is never really Molly.
I also write my own favorite characters into a story. Every author has characters they consider friends, and for me, that’s sometimes tricky since I write dark or tragic stories. For example, in a story I wrote in high school, I felt like I was too attached to one character. He was too awesome. He was charming, brave, honest, and loyal. I favored him in the story, and actually got to a point where I only wanted to write his story line.
My solution? I killed his character.
It was hard. My friends who read the story were ever-so-slightly appalled. I may have shed a few [totally fictional, a’course] tears.
I actually recently started rewriting that story [and don’t worry, that character is (so far) still alive].
And also, no, he’s not based on a friend/family member/anything like that.
I get weird about stories.
As my brother once said to my literature teacher, “You do realize they’re just fictional characters, right?”
Of course I realize that. I’m just emotionally invested, okay?
Gimme a break.