The prompt is: “How have both the people in your life and your own personal experiences impacted your writing? Do you ever base characters off of people you know?”
The honest answer is, I don't normally take things from real life for my writing. People say to write what you know, but I always think that's a little narrow-minded. I write what I don't know, and it usually turns out okay.
Of course, sometimes I--without meaning to--take a few personality traits from people I know in real life and write a character based on them. It wasn't until the third edit of Fantasya: A Giant Problem was finished when I realized that I had taken my personality and my best friend Kirsten's personality and created two characters that were based on us that were also best friends. And not only two characters, but the main characters. The characters weren't completely like us, but just close enough that people who knew us might notice some similarities.
The book I wrote for NaNoWriMo last year (Secrets) was mostly a book with just characters based off of people I knew. Some of my closest friends were the main characters while one person I do not like is the villain. It got hard after a while, though, to just write characters that already existed in the world, so I branched out a bit and changed their personalities. I added a few extra characters that had been completely made-up. The book was fun, but I don't think I'd ever do something like that again.
But all of that aside, I do get inspiration from conversations around me, my observations, and my experiences. I'm constantly writing things down on a piece of scrap paper, the notes on my iPod, or a notebook. If I'm really in a pinch, I'll write on my hands or try really hard to memorize the thing I needed to write down. I got a whole book idea just from watching a documentary about space. I also wrote a short passage about a woman I saw at the park one time that I managed to write into the same book.
I walked by a woman holding a leash that was not attached to a dog, but her child, who was laughing and trying to chase a butterfly that was just out of reach, thanks to her restraining mother. The woman checked her phone, scrolling through Facebook, and barely glanced up when the little girl yanked free of her grip. The woman gasped and chased after her.
“Come here!” she yelled. “No! Come here!”
The woman dropped her phone in her attempts to catch the toddler. When she did scoop up the girl, she carried her over to a park bench and tied the leash around the armrest.
“Sit!” the woman said, completely forgetting herself. Didn’t she know that she was talking to a human being, rather than a canine? “Stay. I’ll be right back.”The woman grabbed her phone, brushed some dirt off of it, and scolded her child for being a kid.
I now invite you all to answer this question in the comments! :D
26th – http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ (We’ll be announcing the topic for next month’s chain.)