People ask me a lot where I get my characters from and if they can be in one of my novels. Yes, I suppose that the best authors are those who are the best observers, and that most novels carry twinges of the real. Not to condescend, but the saying goes that the best lies are based on the truth and what else is a novel but a big lie written down?
Truth is, the strongest characters I’ve written aren’t necessarily based on any one person, or even a conglomeration of my father with a bit of ex-boyfriend #6, but rather are juxtapositions of the many, many people I’ve encountered. Or, even other fictional characters. I’ll take bits and pieces of those around me and run with it. Byron is a mix of The Joker from The Dark Knight, the actual Lord Byron, ex-boyfriend #3, Lermontov’s Pechorin (from the magnificent A Hero of Our Time), and even a bit of Harry Potter.
Sidetrack paragraph: There’s an excellent article linking Quentin Tarantino ‘s films to Russian critic Mikhail Bakhtin that conveys this sentiment exactly. And Bakhtin is a favorite of mine, so there ya go. The article is more about the Tarantino-verse rather than a sprawling pop culture extravaganza that is my mind, but basic principles apply.
However, some real life things are too good to pass up. Like, an eleven o’clock conversation betwixt Adam and me:
M: Pluto is my ruling planet.
A: How so?
M: I’m a Scorpio, that’s how that works.
A: Ah, yes. Astrology. The thing that makes people believe in stupid things so they can blame their stupid behavior on something else.
M: I don’t think Pluto will take kindly to that. He’s already had his planetary status taken away. You know, those scientists are going to rue the day they made that decision.
A: Why’s that?
M: What’s Pluto the god of?
M: And when those meanie scientists die, who do you think is going to show mercy on them?
A: Not Pluto? And believing in the punishment of a death deity isn’t superstitious and stupid?
M: It’s sort of like Pascal’s Dilemma. Better to believe in the death gods than not at all.
A: Do you know who my ruling planet is?
M: Nope. Who?
GOLD. Dialog for my next quirky sitcom. DONE.