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Taking a little break from working on the next Hannah Singer book, I'm chatting online, and I get a question....

"Do you put people you know in your stories?"  I suspect his next question would have been how he could get in one.

Well, no.  Not yet.  See, I currently have five people in my life that think that some character I've written or drawn is based on them or inspired by them or a reference to them or whatever.  And no amount of explaining or denying or swearing on the Bible will convince them otherwise.

I used to think giving little shout outs to friends would be cool.  Back when I was on the anime forums, there was a guy who I got along great with when I first got there.  He took me under his wing and was generally swell.  I decided to show my appreciation by naming a computer expert character after him.  Then one day, he led a dog pile on me for reasons I still do not completely understand (not that I'm really trying to figure it out, but you know what I mean).  That was the day I instituted a "no one I really know" policy in my works.

That, however, changes with the next Hannah Singer book.  The story about the asshole corporate guy who treats his employees like shit?  He's based on someone I know (and anyone who knows him and reads the dialog in the book is going to know EXACTLY who he is).  The story about the mother who manipulates her daughter into having a sexual affair with her and winds up damned to Hell?  She's also based on someone I know.  There are a couple more evil characters in not yet published stories that are based on people I know.  And between the Hannah Singer books and my My Little Pony fanfic that was seen by over eight million people, I have more opportunities.

So, do I put people I know in my stories?  If the character is a good guy?  No.  If it's a bad guy?  Well....


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 11th, 2013 12:30 am (UTC)
What if the character is a pirate? Are you sure you haven't put someone you know in subconsciously only to discover you had at a later date?
Jan. 11th, 2013 01:38 am (UTC)
Pirate character? When have I written a...oh, yes! You must be referring to the "Trial By Fire" story in the first Hannah Singer book! No, that was not subconscious. Allow me to explain how I came up with Artie Hawthorne.

The pirate angle was generated by the "Yo, ho, all together," sea shanty. I wanted everyone in court to show a united front behind Hannah, and singing the song came to mind (inspired by the scene at the start of the third Pirates Of The Caribbean movie). Which meant, I needed some character who was a pirate. Someone who lived by his own rules and eschewed the Establishment became a perfect fit for Hannah when she was just getting her bearings, since she was likewise living by her own rules, just on land instead of at sea. And pirates don't have to be bloodthirsty -- as any Errol Flynn fan can tell you, they can be likable rogues. So a pirate it was.

However, I still needed a name. It is very hard for me to locate "time appropriate" names, and I pretty much reach for them in desperation. For example, Spire's name came about simply because "spire" would be a common noun from the era, and that or occupations was where surnames usually came from. At some point, I wanted to tip my hat to Nathaniel Hawthorne, who wrote my favorite book, The Scarlet Letter (which you will also recognize deals with religious hypocrisy. Are you surprised it's at the top of my list?). But I couldn't just name a character like that, or people would think it was the author, and 350 years before he was born, to boot. So "Nathaniel" (shortened to Nathan) became the straggler who got Hannah to petition (after being condemned by the priest, he wouldn't feel his last name meant much anymore) and "Hawthorne" for the pirate.

Now, I just needed a first name. Since Hannah and him were going to become buddies, I wanted a name that could be shortened into a buddy-sounding name. I thought of Shanghai Knights, where Arthur Conan Doyle was referred to as "Artie" by Owen Wilson's character. Arthur was the best name that I could find that fit the last name either in formal version or nickname version, and that's where it came from.

...and now you know...the rest of...the story....
Jan. 11th, 2013 01:59 am (UTC)
Okay...make that SIX people....

Oh, and as far as the limp goes, pirates had a nasty tendency not to keep all of their body parts. Artie would likely be missing a piece or two. The limp fed his personality, so that instead of a swaggering brute (who Hannah would tell to piss off), he was ultimately a cuddly guy.
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