Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Be Careful or You Will End Up in My Novel

Got that on a t-shirt for Christmas this year.  It's pretty great.  I laughed when I opened it.

But it's also great advice.  Not just for those around us.  (Well, we don't want them getting the memo, do we?)  But for us.

We have to pay attention to the outside world, as scary as that may sound.

You seriously cannot make some things up.  And it's these stories, these little quirks and personality traits that we pull from real life that make our characters pop off the page.  These are what make our characters come alive and make them compelling for the reader.

A book can be perfectly executed, but if the characters and story aren't compelling, it falls flat.

So, we have to pay attention and try not to warn people to be careful lest they wind up in our novels.

Of course, we do have to change details enough so that those around us don't realize where we pulled those small details from.

Have a good day, everyone!


  1. So true! And that's a great shirt... I don't know if you remember the hamster dance from the early days of the internet but my sister got me a "How to do the hamster dance" t-shirt this year. I couldn't stop laughing.

  2. I love it! I need one of those shirts. Every single bit of my writing is inspired by my own life experiences. Of course, I exaggerate on those experiences, but if I wasn't out there living life, I never would have come up with any of my ideas. Great reminder that we writers need to leave the computer from time to time.

  3. I've had people think things were about them when, though they were mined from real life, they were about someone else entirely. I think people just naturally assume that you are writing about them.

  4. Great Shirt idea. I think that a person can understand how important another person can be in their lives by considering that the other might write a book about it some day.

  5. Isn't that the truth! Great post and that T-shirt would have had me in stitches. Awesome!

  6. Terrific advice...and I love the shirt.

  7. Your blog entry title is what I say to all my friends

  8. I want a shirt like that! And you are absolutely right. I think most people don't really notice when you steal their character quirks, though. Luckily! :)

  9. Love the t-shirt! I really need to get one of those:)

    I try to get traits from people I know, too. But I'm like you and always change them around so nobody can recognize themselves in the event I'm published one day.

  10. L.T. I may be a bit young for the hamster dance. I'm not sure what you're talking about.

    Susan, if I knew where she got it, I'd tell you. But zazzle.com lets you design your own. You have to exaggerate unless you want people angry at you.

    Alissa, that's funny. I wonder sometimes how much I put in subconsciously from my real life.

    Tom, very true.

    Nisa, I was laughing pretty hard when I opened it.

    Liza, thanks.

    RQ, LOL

    Angie, thank heaven for that one!

    Melissa, it's what we have to do.


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