Look just about anywhere on the internet and you can find memes, coffee mugs, t-shirts, book bags, and dozens of other writer-inspired items with variations of the warning, “Be careful or I’ll put you in my next book.”
And, sometimes, it happens just like that.
The rude woman behind you in the check-out lane becomes the rude neighbor who gets bitten by a dog… in your book.
The nice guy you thought was The One but turned out to be a jerk becomes the arrogant coworker outed for embezzlement and hauled off to jail… in your book.
The BFF you’ve known since grade school steals and maxes out your credit card becomes the scheming queen who gets eaten by a dragon… in your book.
It’s a passive/aggressive way to take revenge or give karma a helping hand.
But it’s not always for justice.
In Free, a Novella, psychologist and retired pastor, James Richie, and his receptionist wife Alice, are modeled after my dear friends, James and Alice Richie.
Married almost fifty years before James’ death, some of the snarky banter battles they share actually happened. One of my biggest joys was Alice’s reaction after reading the book, “Girl, you nailed us.”
Counselors Diane and Leo Payton from the upcoming Family Matters are based on… Diane and Leo Payton, close friends who have been foster parents for most of their forty-year-marriage, in addition to having four biological children.
It’s not difficult to develop characters based on people you know. You simply have to remember. In the case of seeking/getting revenge a bit of embellishment could be added in. Maybe.
But what about when it’s not done intentionally?
Gavin Marks is a detective sergeant in my CampNaNo project, Sins of the Mother. While reading over a scene of him in the squad room briefing other detectives, I laughed at a comment he made and thought, “That’s something Jeff would say.”
And then it clicked.
I pulled up Gavin’s profile. I scanned over all of his dialogue, and I laughed again… at myself.
I’d modeled the detective after my younger brother, Jeff, without even realizing it, right down to his being a life-long Dallas Cowboys fan.
My first thought was to re-sketch Gavin. My second thought was all the scenes and dialogue he’s included in.
I called Jeff and told him what I’d done. He laughed it off and made me promise to see him a free print copy after the book is released. He also said, “No worries, sis. If this Gavin-dude is based on me, he’s awesome!”
I hate it when he’s right.
Day 17 word count – 30, 717