Character Collecting

I re-read yesterday’s blog about Moaning Minnie and her Groundhog Day and was hit by one of those lightbulb moments of self-awareness…I am a Character Collector. Instead of listening empathically to Moaning Minnie I “collected ” her as a possible character for a future piece of work. I do this a lot. I used my mum as the main character in a short story about a wheelchair; my sister in another one about two very different sisters wanting to buy the same house; a couple of friends in another…oh you get the picture.

I have confessed in earlier blogs to being an inveterate earriwigger and I have little notebooks stashed with words and phrases that catch my attention. However, they are also full of “characters” based on people I know, I’ve worked with, I met in the laundrette, wherever. I categorise them unmercifully according to their potential; for example hero/heroine; baddie; psycho; mother-in-laws; old gossip etc etc. There’s nothing like a good bit of stereotyping and categorising to make you feel better (superior).

One of my newest categories (now I’m single again) I call “amorous losers” – I mean how else would you categorise someone whose chat up line is “I’ve not had it off for 5 years, how about you?” and he wasn’t talking about his manky sweater. Honest, this is true. Then there was a first date I went on where Romeo took me to his local pub, sat me in a corner, bought me a glass of orange juice and disappeared into another bar with his mates to watch the Grand Prick…sorry I mean the Grand Prix of course.

I’m sure most writers do something like this…please tell me they do… but what I’d really like to know is what do you do if someone recognises themselves…get a good lawyer?

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2 thoughts on “Character Collecting

  1. I’m not sure if it’s the same thing, but I used to use my friends and family as templates for my characters. I used their physical appearance and personality quirks for early characters with exaggerations.

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