Tuesday, June 25, 2013

If You're Mean To Me I'll Write You Into My Book--TCWT Blog Chain

This is my first time participating in the "Teens Can Write, Too!" Blog Chain and I am VERY excited! :D

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.)


Anonymous said...

Wow, MV! You blow me away! I just love to read your writing. You are mature so beyond your years.

I love your first paragraph:
"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."

Gosh. I know so many middle-aged folks who don't have that insight into life!

I also love, love, love your story about the woman in the park. Again, you are a teen and you get it. She's an adult and she doesn't! Awesome description (I can completely picture it) and subtle commentary!

Keep writing!

Dr. Mark said...

What an excellent post. I agree with fishes--that is a great paragraph. I know we live with you and see you and talk with you all the time, but it's fun to get more details about the kinds of things you like to read and write.

Boquinha said...

Wow - so insightful! I love that you know yourself. That's fantastic.

I think the fact that you can write "what you don't know" with such confidence and ease shows how great your imagination really is! No wonder you like to write fantasy!

I suppose you don't have to BE a unicorn to write about one! ;)

Also, I love the story about the woman with the leashed kid - hysterical!

Boquinha said...

By the way, I often write what I know. Almost all of my stuff is based on my experiences, thoughts, opinions, and on people I know. I love satire and humor, so I get a lot of that from writing what I know. I wonder if that means I lack imagination? I would like to think that it's simply one of my niches, that's all.

I think it's good to write what you LIKE. If it's something I like to read, then it's proabbly the kind of genre I'd like to write, too. Makes sense to my mind anyway.

Dave Johnson said...

Kate - some of my (subjectively) best characters came from blending two or three RL people into one. The more diverse the better. It's how I ended up with a moped riding exorcist ex-Baptist/atheist ghostbuster who lives on Fruit Loops and Mountain Dew. He's my favorite one.

It's like your shirt says - Don't make me angry or you might end up in my novel.

I think that whole "write what you know" only works for some people. I'm bored with what I know. Why not write about things you don't know? Then you also get to research them and learn something new, which IMO is 50% of the fun of writing. Writing what you know is for non-fiction authors. We get to play with imagination, which means we can go wherever we want. I think you can't help but stir in things you actually do know from RL, but that's unavoidable. Guess it just depends on what captures your imagination.

The Magic Violinist said...

@seventytwofishes Thanks! :D I've recently tried to observe people more carefully and while I haven't gotten many character ideas, I've seen how different people use body language, which has really helped me!

@Dr. Mark Thanks! :D That's one of the reasons I love writing so much: you get to learn more about a person, even if you think you know everything about them. ;)

@Boquinha Ha! Writing about unicorns came surprisingly easily to me . . . (what does this mean)? ;)

Ooh, "write what you like." That's what I should've said. I guess styles of writing vary with each person.

@Dave Johnson Yes, like with Cassandra and Cornelia, I've found bits of people I know popping up in my characters that were SUPPOSED to be completely made up. But I guess you can't completely make something up, right? Everything comes from somewhere.