I’m sorry for missing the date of the blog chain. To make you forgive me I will send flowers to each off your doorsteps. When they don’t show up, assume I really did send flowers and someone just stole them before they got to you. I was sick with a cold, and when I am sick, I’m a total wimp and I’m not good for anything. I spent most of the last two days sleeping, sneezing, and watching Scrubs reruns because I couldn’t concentrate on anything involving text.
But enough rambling. The prompt for this month 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?”
To answer the first question: Most of the people in my life haven’t really gotten me into writing. My parents encouraged me, leading me to think I was a writing prodigy for a while there, but that was it. I don’t think I know any people in real life who hope to be writers when they get older. If I do, that means they’re like me and don’t ever talk to anyone about it. So no one I know in my non-internet life actually ever gives me advice about writing. All of the writing help I get is from this blog and my awesome commenters.
My personal experiences, however, have affected my work, and I think this is true for everyone. For instance, the second chapter of the novel I’m working on (I finished the first draft!), involves the characters getting revenge on a rival “gang” by sneaking into their houses and pulling a bunch of overly-elaborate pranks on them. For legal purposes, all I can tell you is that something similar may or may not have happened to me in real life.
There’s also a scene in the second book in which a certain character “drops” a smoothie onto a very expensive car from the second floor of a mall (the car was there for a contest of some sort) and got chased down and arrested by mall police. The same thing happened to a friend of mine, except with a lacrosse ball, and he didn’t get chased down so much as he was escorted away and his parents were called to pick him up.
In many of my stories, I take instances from real life, and change them to make them more interesting.
As for the second question, “Do you ever base characters off people you know?” The answer is yes, though rarely. I used to do it a lot when I was a little kid, (to the point where the bad guy was always my older brother, the good guys were always me and my buddies and he also went to jail at the end) but now I only base characters off people in my life on rare occasions. I only do this if I meet a person who is particularly interesting. Such as that kid in the back of one of my classes who smokes pot everyday and is supposedly in a violent gang, yet is one of the most intelligent and nicest people I’ve ever met (not to say that weed-smoking gang members can’t be nice or intelligent. Sorry if I offended anyone within those categories). That kid would make an interesting character. I want to write a story with a main character based off him, but since I don’t know much about life in a serious gang, and I’m not planning on joining one any time soon, the story has yet to be written.
I’ve noticed a strong correlation between bad decisions and great stories/characters. For instance, someone who does drugs and joins gangs clearly did not make the best decisions in life. But he’s a pretty interesting guy. Similarly, breaking into an enemy’s house in the middle of the night just to cover their entire bedroom floor with water-filled paper cups is not a wise decision. Neither is
throwing dropping a lacrosse ball at a contest car in the middle of a very crowded mall filled with security guards. Or throwing a snowball at a car that you originally thought was your older brother’s but actually turned out to be this scary guy who likes to threaten ten-year-old kids with his fists of doom. But if someone had written these stories all down (something I hope to do), I would definitely read it.
So the lesson of this post is, the more stupid choices you make in your life, the better your writing will be. Probably. Don’t take my advice on this.
I hope no one decides to do drugs/join a gang after reading this. That would not be a good idea. You could just join the Blogger’s Gang, which I just made up right now, instead! In order to get in, you have to either A.) Kill someone, B) Sacrifice a lamb, or C.) Write a funny comment below.
My friends and I have done some pretty stupid things.
26th – http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ (We’ll be announcing the topic for next month’s chain.)