Thursday, August 18, 2005

You, Me and Everyone I Know

Okay, since P Diddy dropped the "P" in his name, I think it's only fitting that I tell you all that I think the "Lockwood" is getting between me and my "fans" - so you guys can just call me Cara. Or if you are feeling really creative, you can call me C. Liddy or even Liddy, but I'm not guaranteeing that I'll respond to any of those.

It's time for more writing questions! My favorite kind. I get to pretend I actually know something aside from the latest Bradgelina news.

Jessica writes:

How do you come up with the characters in your novels? Are they based on real people?

My characters come from everywhere. From real life and imagination, from friends and friends of friends, basically from everyone.

I don't plunk someone into a book verbatim, though - (except for the fact that I particularly like the name Robert for bad guys since I dated a very bad Robert in high school). Honestly, most people need a little tweaking to be put into a book. Either you're too boring (like me) or you're a little too out there (crazy friends of mine, you know who you are) and you need to be toned down a bit.

That said, I have to say that the danger of writing is that everyone you know assumes you DID put them in the book, even if you weren't thinking of them at all. For instance, after I wrote "I Do" my mom was convinced she was the cold, etiquette-obsessed mom in the book. She wasn't. Not at all.

I've had friends who were completely the opposite of certain characters who thought they might be because of circumstantial evidence (where the characters ate, lived or worked).

And if it's not a friend, then everyone assumes everything that happens in my books happens to me. For the record, this is not true. I live a very, very dull life. There's hardly anything in it worth writing about, which is why I'm writing fiction. Because it's much better to make stuff up. It's far more entertaining, trust me, than writing about how I watched Oprah and then debated about whether I should shower. So no, I was never a wedding planner. I never got fired from my job. I don't have a long-standing crush on a boy from Dixie.

The great thing about writing is that you get to play act. You get to walk around in some stranger's shoes for awhile and say and do things you'd never dream of doing. And, I should mention, it's also pretty darn fun to name evil characters after poorly behaved friends, ex-boyfriends and former bosses. Revenge is a dish best served in print, for sure.


Jessica said...

What is it with P. Diddy, excuse me Mr. Diddy. It's very mind boggling,was Sean Combs not good enough? Anyways,Cara thank you so much for the character explanation that was helpful especially because I'm a new writer and afraid EVERYONE will think it's all about them.I want people to enjoy my writing not be mad and never talk to me again...

Cara Lockwood said...

Hi Jessica!

It's definitely a risk being a writer that everyone will think you're writing about them. But it's a risk worth taking, I think. The funny thing I've found is that usually it's not the people I'm worried about that get mad. It's people I never expected and didn't think about (like my Mom) that usually do.

Good luck with the writing!

Cherlyn Michaels said...

Ha! I get the same reactions. Friends thinking that a certain character is based on them, people thinking that the book is about me and every single experience done to or by every single character happened to me. It's funny. And, okay, I confess. I have taken the names of "enemies" and given them to the less than desirable characters of my book. But nobody can prove anything and it won't hold up in court!

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