Wednesday, June 21, 2006

My Ex-Brother-in-Law. . .Uh, I Mean That Awful Character In My Novel

By G.Ellen

I spent most of last Saturday helping my sister load boxes onto trailers and then unload them in her new home. This has been a wrenching move for her children, and more than likely for her. They were leaving a home that they had lived in for over 15 years. I helped unpack most of the kitchen, contemplating as I unboxed spices, that if it hadn'’t been for my scum-sucking ex-brother-in-law, this would not be happening. As I was thinking this, it struck me that he would be the perfect character in a book.

Have you discovered that there are family members that would make great people in your latest novel? Or perhaps someone you know? Often the characters we read have been a real person the author has met at one time or another, and evolved into what we are reading. Jane Austen is a perfect example of this--–several of her stories were based on family and or situations. They are seldom exactly as we read, because no one is totally wonderful or totally awful. Well, perhaps some of them are. . .

Anyway, let me say my brother-in-law (did I say he was soon to be EX?) was the guy you would love at the beginning, then hate at the end--–wondering how you ever got pulled into his charm and charade. He certainly had all of us fooled. He would make a great villain for one of my romance novels. . .and I fully intend to use him. Of course I won'’t use his real name or initials (which I have been known to do) because I don'’t want him thinking he can come after me for royalties, but it will be him.

You'’ll fall in love with him at the beginning and wonder in the middle where it all went wrong and by the end you'’ll be wanting to huck tomatoes at him. I promise. We had to keep three family members from taking his baseball bat back to him Saturday. . .

Perhaps if you are struggling with a character that you need an example for, you need to look around you. Have you got the perfect villain in your realm of acquaintances? Maybe someone in your family or one of your neighbors? They'll never know you used them, and I'’d love to read about it.

2 comments:

KB said...

Based on my experience, people who know you tend to think they are in your story, even when they're not. So if they really are in there, make sure you really, really disguise that character. If a judge can see the connection, you could be in trouble.

G.Ellen said...

I don't have any illusions that he would ever read any of my novels...;) But yes, I would definitely disguise his character so that no one would tell him. Thanks for reading!!