What inspires your characters?

Is it someone you know? Maybe you use their eye or hair color. Perhaps their job or hobby.

I’ve been known to use hockey players as a model for a male character’s appearance, especially the one with the amazing light blue-green eyes. I’ve used a woman I passed in the store for the main character in the first story I wrote. Her height, body-build and hair color just clicked and a character’s appearance was born.

I’ve also used movie character’s attitude who seemed perfect for one of mine.

Inspiration can come from anywhere, I’ve come to realize.

So what inspires your character’s attitude, appearances or profession?



5 Responses to “What inspires your characters?”

  1. I’ve sat and watched a movie and a word or scene will inspire me and off I run to the computer to write myself a message (so I don’t forget!) A couple of my stories have come about this way. Yes, I keep a tablet by the bed for those nighttime ideas – LOL.

    Great post, Liena.

  2. sandrasookoo Says:

    Well, that’s a very broad topic. I love to people-watch. It’s like a spectator sport for me. A person’s phyiscal description doesn’t necessarily inspire me because my characters are a mix of different people I’ve seen. Kinda like playing with clay on a writing scale 🙂

    I’ve never based a character on an actual person–except once. It was the Mafia princess in Fang Shui. Totally based on my brother’s ex-girlfriend, down to each dyed blonde hair. She’s a well, you know the type. Bad thing? He’s back together with her. Maybe she won’t recognize herself…

    But inspiration comes from all kinds of things and I’ll rush to the laptop to jot down a scene or idea. Might not use it for months but don’t want to lose it. 🙂

  3. So I don’t know if this is what you’re looking for but I was driving down the street one day and I saw this street sign for Westervelt Ave. I thought, that would make a really good name for an island and thus the Wolves of Westervelt Island were born which are the stars of my Westevelt Wolves series. But then it went even further. I was at the zoo with my kids, it was around Halloween and I saw this woman walking with her kids by one of the exhibits and I thought, what if one of the wolves was trapped in there and thus came the whole first book called Her Wolf. LOL

    Also, I’ve been inspired by just watching this girl run amuck in the grocery store. I thought what if she’s lost and a Vampire finds her. LOL. Haven’t written that one yet.

    In terms of what they look like, I mostly take them from TV I guess. Grey’s Anatomy recently and I’ve used Twilight before, the movie version.

    Great post Liena.

  4. I tend more to be inspired by names than actual people. For my story SIDEKICKS, I saw the name “Sabrina Wind” run by in the credits of a show.

    What a cool name, I thought. I altered it slightly (stealing the first name from my mom’s cat, Jasmine) and then I had my heroine’s alter-ego, Jasmine Wind, the ultimate love goddess.

    I often don’t know what my characters look like until halfway through the book–after I’ve gotten to know them a bit.


    Great post, Lynn!


  5. Z(Aasiyah/Nolwynn) Says:

    Hey Lynn

    My characters’ physical appearance is always about someone I saw on the screen. Actors, models, sportspeople. Usually, I have an idea what the character is supposed to look like, and I run through the people who could fit him/her. I must admit the men I use for heroes are almost always guys I’ve had crushes on or thought they were simply drool-worthy. Such as, wow, this guy would so totally fit as a hero. I then base the characters’ physical appearance from this picture/image/person. This also helps me to visualise my scenes because I know what the people are like and stuff like how tall they are, etc.

    The names – I have no idea how they come to me! I know the first name usually, and then bang! The family name just fits in.

    As for characters based on people I know… Well, not excatly per se. The overbearing mom in my culture-based sisters series is based on a combination of all my aunts, took the most annoying and tedious things about them and fitted them there. The dad is pretty much my own dad and my late uncle, two men who to me have always had the wisdom and detachment to let their daughters live their own lives while providing subtle guidance from the sidelines.

    Most of the time though, characters spring fully formed in my mind. The ones I mentioned above are the very first I created, and there was a lot of thought and work behind it all. But now characters just pop in during the thought process.



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