Milk Eggs Vodka (or, Inspirations for Your Characters)

A few months ago I was watching Jimmy Kimmel, and the guest, Bill Keaggy, was promoting his unusual book, Milk Eggs Vodka. (Warning - if you're going to check out the link, you've been forewarned that not everything on there is child appropriate.)

Milk Eggs Vodka: Grocery Lists Lost and Found [Book]

Milk Eggs Vodka is a compilation of grocery lists found by Mr. Bill Keaggy, himself, over a span of many years. Here's how the story goes: One day Mr. Keaggy found a grocery list, and after finding it a little interesting, he decided to keep it. Then he found another interesting one, and another, and so on. A few years later, the collection had grown to a whopping amount of almost five hundred lists. (I plan to get this book, eventually, because the lists he shared on the show really did make me giggle.)

Anyway. Characters with unusual quirks can make your story more interesting. Being the writerly person that I am, Mr. Keaggy gave me an idea about how to up the quirkiness with one of the characters in my women's fiction WiP. (No, she doesn't collect any kind of list.) And then I thought, I wonder what odd things have inspired other writers out there to do something different with their characters?

So today's question is:

What inspired you to write your characters the way you did?

I'd love to hear your stories!


Lila Swann said...

I'm sure this answer is slightly self-centered, but I always start with myself. The main character of my completed novel, Bri, is at her very core "me, but she actually says and does the things that I keep in my head." Which is a HUGE difference, because that simple change (saying and doing the things that I would keep in my head) makes for drama, it shifts relationships, and it makes her different in almost every decision and personality trait that arises from that.

My new character, Emma, is the same way, but flipped. She's "me, but even more insecure, lonely, detached."

I think that starting with myself lets me keep a degree of reality to it. In Bri's case, I would think about my thoughts about a certain situation, but have her actually say/do them. It creates an authenticity, and different personality traits then rise organically out of that.

Unknown said...

The usual answer, all my characters are me, in one form or another. So in my head and when writing I spend my time as a ten year old boy or girl, very odd... too many years spent in the classroom... :0)

Bethany said...

With my current WIP, my main character actually started off as me. It was meant to be a self-help book for childhood abuse survivors, and then ended up branching out into something fictional when I completely lost my nerve. My main character - Evie, started off as me, and involved into something completely different as the book changed. She's harder, stronger and overall more beautiful and awesome than I could ever be haha.

Evie is me, except that she has the hair color I always wanted, the bone structure I never had and the spine of a club bouncer. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm an observer and daydreamer. My characters evolve inside my head the more I think about them. Long walks and music help.