Well, it's time for another Q & A session with our site authors, poets, editors, and readers! As you can see, these features have a little something for everyone. If you have ideas for questions for one of these groups, feel free to PM me! And while you're at it, why not answer one of the Round 5 questions! Now, let's see what we have for you this round!
Authors: Do you base characters off of real life people? Are they completely fictional? Or some of both? And how does it affect your writing of said characters?
@Mikiesboy Some of my characters are completely fictional. Some are from my own life, people i've seen or met. No matter where they come from, i still bend and shape them into the character i want. The most recent character i am writing is Aiden. He is based on a young boy i saw when we were out for dinner at a local restaurant. I've changed him slightly now, but he's the reason for my character.
I think it's important to know your characters, even if you never share all their back story. Know who they are, so they will have natural and in-character reactions to the world you put them in.
@Timothy M. My characters are mostly fictional, but they often carry something of me, and occasionally of people I know.
@Dabeagle I do and I don't. That is to say, I don't copy a person, but I will copy come mannerisms or appearances for the sake of inspiration. When I do, I don't use their names or anything like that. I think it would be very difficult and constraining to try to stick to a real person because you have to decide how they would react in a given situation and, somehow, work that into the story framework you have. Generally characters that I 'borrow' from real people are because I like or was amused by them, so it's fun to have them appear. For instance in Ouroboros, Inc. I actually used a few people in minor roles. The characters of Cait and Bennett were based on real life siblings; the girl has made my coffee a time or two at our local Dunkin' Donuts. The family actually has four kids, all of whom seem to be lovely people. The boy Bennett was based on did many of the small things in real life that the fictional version of him did. Sometimes I only borrow a name because it strikes me as unique or interesting - like Drake from You Don't Know Me. Outside of the name, though, he was original. I don't think anyone would recognize themselves in my work unless I used something they'd personally remember. Many real life people provide fun character parts to play with and assemble into my own creature.
@Thorn Wilde Often a bit of both. My characters are oftentimes inspired by people I've seen or people I know, but very fictionalised. In a way, though, I don't really think there's any such thing as a completely original character. Even if you're not aware of it, there's probably someone you've seen or talked to that lets you invent that character. I don't think it really affects my writing any differently. Even if a character I write is originally partially based on a real person, they will usually grow and change until they're not much like them anymore and become their own people.
@BHopper2 Both actually. There's a little bit of realness to most of my characters, but for some, they are taken directly from my real life friends. Three of the characters in my Tampa Chronicles series are based off real people. Brayon, Chandon, and Jeremy fully embody the people they are patterned off of. Other's are fictional, like Adam from the same series, is the Dad I wish I had, and Robert is the brother.
When writing about my friends, I will often ask them if they are okay with me doing so. If they are not, then I go the fictional route. Some of my fictional ones are based off old RPG characters, and they are easy for me to write more than some I totally make up.
@Valkyrie Some of both. My characters are fictional, but I incorporate mannerisms, physical characteristics, quirks, and sayings from people I’ve either met or observed in real life. I think it lends them authenticity and also makes it easier to write them.
Editors: How hard do you find it to edit a story that you can't get into? Have you ever had to refuse to continue on with a story? If so, why?
@Timothy M. I avoid stories which don't appeal to me as a reader, so I'd say it would be very difficult. I've rarely refused to keep editing, and it only happened because the author didn't implement my edits and sometimes posted the chapters before I received them for editing. That was frustrating.
@Valkyrie It depends on the author and the circumstances. If I can’t get into a story, I try to figure out why and convey my reasons to the author, because something isn’t working. I’m happy to discuss it, as long as the author is willing and not defensive about it. If it’s a question of the author’s ‘style’ being one I’m not a fan of, then I keep my mouth shut and do more of a proofread or light edit vs a full edit, which includes beta comments. I’ll complete the edit if it’s a one-off or short story, but longer works I will gracefully bow out. Thankfully, I haven’t had to do this often. I find it much easier to proofread a story I can’t get into vs editing one. When I proofread, I turn off the ‘beta reader’ portion of my editing brain and refrain from making such comments, unless there is a glaring continuity error.
Sometimes it’s a matter of time constraints too. I tend to take on too much, which doesn’t leave a lot of time for my own writing when authors send me stories/chapters all at the same time. In that case, I’m sure to communicate clearly to the authors I’m working with where they are in the queue and how long I think it will take to get back them.
Readers: What is the main thing that entices you to read a story?
@mollyhousemouse This is a good question! i don't know if there is just one thing that makes a story more enticing.
i suppose the first thing i look at is the author. Have i read something by them before? Is this an author who finishes stories, or posts chapters regularly?
i'll also look at the reviews. Reviews are SO important! if you read something and liked it, write one! it's so easy and it helps turn other readers on to a story you liked!
The third thing i look at is recommendations from friends here. If i see that someone i follow, another author i like, has read a story then i'm more likely to read it.
@Timothy M. If it's written by an author I already know and whose stories I like, I almost always try it out. A good story description will often entice me to try a story, especially with adult characters.
@Thorn Wilde The title is what catches my eye. I judge a book by its cover. If the title doesn't seem interesting to me, I often scroll past the description, because there's only so many stories I can read anyway. After the title I read the description, and if that looks interesting, I read the story.
Poets: Many know of the poetry teachings of @AC Benus, what is your favorite type of poem to write from those teaching?
@Mikiesboy AC's poetry prompts are wonderful...and he is just posting new revised prompts. Learning how to write various forms can only make you a better poet. I enjoy writing many of them. Using specific forms forces you to think, forces you to use your poetic tools and challenge is good. While i write this, i'm thinking that i really enjoy writing the Rubaiyat. But there are so many forms i enjoy. I hope to see some more people take on these prompts. Join us in Live Poets ... lots of support for all poets and fans of poetry are welcome !
@aditus I did them all, but I fell in love with the ghazal. One thing I have in common with Goethe, beside our first language of course.
BONUS QUESTION: Do you have a favorite Valentine's memory that you'd be willing to share with us?
@Valkyrie My best Valentine’s Day memory would have to be from my college days. The guy I was dating at the time brought me flowers and made me dinner. He also wrote me a poem and hand-wrote it on a heart he had cut out of card stock. I still have that poem somewhere.
@Mikiesboy My mother's birthday was February 14, so it's a bittersweet day for me. Michael is aware of course and we usually spend the day together quietly.
Well, there you have it! Round four of the Q & A! Who's ready for Round 5? You can check out the Round 5 questions in the forum thread, and then just follow the directions to PM me your answers! I love seeing all the answers, and feel free to encourage your fellow authors, poets, readers, and editors to join in on the fun and send me their answers too!