The Real Life And Death Of A Fictional Character

Nov 24, 2016Books, Complicated Blue, Inspiration, Loreless, Writing

Creating great fictional characters draws on all of a writer’s knowledge of mankind.

Quite often a character is a conglomeration of people they have met in real life.

Some people have a greater influence on the development of a character than others.

Some leave a lasting impression which goes far beyond fiction.

A New Story And A Death

It’s been a tough week on many levels.

I published my second book, Complicated Blue, as an ebook.

I have juggled promoting it and preparing its physical sister in paperback.

And, I have been dealing with death.

Recently, in the past weeks, I have lost several friends and acquaintances.

They all died of cancer, or their bodies succumbed as a direct result of the treatment of the disease.

The last one to leave this earthly coil was the woman who inspired one of the major characters in my first novel Loreless.

Time Is Immaterial

I haven’t had any actual contact with her for over twenty years.

Even back then I only got to know her briefly.

She was important, though.

She left a lasting impression on me. Her enthusiasm for her culture rubbed off.

She is partly responsible for inspiring me to write Loreless in the first place.

In order to truly bring characters alive you need to climb into their skin, you need to experience the world from their point of view.

The character which appears in the book is based on the essence of her.

It’s not really her.

It’s someone else.

Yet spending so much time writing the fictitious her into Loreless brought me closer to her.

Once you climb into the head-space of such a rich character they never leave you. You end up becoming one with them.

Strangely, although I realise it’s not true, I feel I really knew her well.

Loreless on the shelves

So, with her death, I felt something die as well.

I felt the loss. I still feel it.

I also regret not having the chance to sit down and talk to the real her about the fictitious her.

I also regret not getting to personally tell her how she inspired me.

The Spirit In The Book

There is one consolation.

I have been told that parts of the book were read to her. I was told she delighted to know others thought it was a good read.

At the very least, she knew what I had done. That does provide some comfort.

I know that it is indigenous custom not to speak the name of the dead. I am not sure if that extends to not speaking about them at all.

Or reading about them.

I hope it’s an honourable thing that her spirit lives on in the book.


Have you been inspired by someone special?


Leave a comment below or join the mailing list and let me know.

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