Some writers (A) are very open about putting people they know in their book, whether it is revenge (never be mean to a writer), or for less nefarious reasons (I admire you, I love you, I like you, you are fun, you are interesting).
Some writers (B) deny all, even vague, linkage between real people and the fictional characters in their book.
I’m going to let you into a secret. If you know a writer . . . you are almost certainly, okay definitely, in their book!
So, are these writers (B) lying? Are they seeking to mislead you?
No, not really, it’s more of a—subconscious inclusion—that a writer cannot possibly help.
The thing is, that a writer crafts their story out of their imagination, which is made up of everything they have ever seen, everything they have ever heard, and everything they have ever read. And while much of this input is from other works of fiction, a large percentage of it comes from everyday life, and that’s right—the writer’s friends, family, and colleagues . . . and even their pets!
I collect names. I love names, especially quirky, or interesting names. Whenever I hear a name that I like, I jot it down. I might not have a character for it yet, or maybe I will rename an old character because I like it better. Either way, names are something we often consciously, or subconsciously use (and even avoid).
Yep, I collect personalities too. Now, you may be FREAKING OUT if your writer friend has put a character with your name in their book who is a complete buffoon! Is that how the writer sees you?
Not quite. Writers have a tendency to mash things together. A friends name (who is not a buffoon), may be merged with another person they know who is really clumsy, and the random guy from the petrol station who couldn’t work out how to use the pump, and their pet dog who is adorably loopy! Yep, all this really does go into a single character. And then they give it YOUR name! And they are not all even human, or the same sex! That’s just wrong!
That’s writers for you.
By now, you are probably getting a bit of an idea of how this works. And let me tell you that appearance is the worst one of all. It’s like a manic identikit has been let lose on the fictional world. Hair from this person, eyes from that person, body build from that person, a little magic dust, and voila, you have a complete abomination—just kidding, they turn out fine, mostly.
So, in answer to the above question ‘do writers really put you in their book’, the answer is still, yes, they most certainly do. 🙂