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There are a lot of different ways to do this and depending on what’s simpler for you is going to depend on a lot of different factors like if you’re writing a multi-part story, a short, something from first person view, third person view, subjective, and so on.
So there are a lot of ways to do this from modeling almost entirely from scratch someone you do not know at all or taking a good portion from ones you do. I always believed that even if you could create a “unique” personality there is someone out there in the world “just like that.” I know there are quite a few movies I’ve seen where I could say “that character is just like me” or “I was like that, at that age”. I would even go as far as to say that there are movies I saw as a teenager (and long forgotten on the surface) where I have “turned out like that” now that I am older (now seeing the movie again in my forties and remembering it from thirty some odd years ago).
Similar to the saying that there are no new ideas in the world, just reinvented ones, I like to also offer that there are no really unique personalities. There are combinations of character traits that are in a number of people that can be mixed and matched to create someone “new”.
The easiest way of going about it for myself is that I will often take one positive element (strength) from one person I actually know in the carbon based world and then try to create a neutral or negative element (as an opposite) to it. From there I would incorporate both into my character and I will generally do that for many of the characters in a given story.
As an example, the person might have their own source of inner conflict. I might take someone that has grit and determination (as a strength) and then saddle them with issues with authority. They are so headstrong and determined that they cannot recognize when tact and stepping softly is the better play to a situation. By defaulting to their strength they actually set themselves back and then in order to achieve what they want or need to do they need to step back, regroup, and try again.
I also do this because I want the characters to grow in the same manner as I want to for myself and for the people in my life. I am hoping in some small way, people reading my stories can come to realize some aspect of their life where they can have some room for improvement and / or understand that failure is not a total loss but a point from which you can spring back from. An arrow starts at a negative point and against tension before it rockets forward. People can be similar if they don’t take a setback as a total loss.
Sometimes there are traits in my characters that I wish I could be myself. A little more patient like one or a little less cynical like another. In my most recent book Another Sunset, the main character, David, makes his way selflessly helping people where he has every reason to shut the whole world out. He decides that isn’t the way he wants to live the next chapter of his life and decides to teach others what he knows and let them learn to help themselves.
While I have taken very small parts of myself and embedded them into that particular character, the rest is really from the kindness, patience, wisdom, honor, and fortitude that I see in many other people. From all of them I cobbled together that main character. I did much the same in the supporting characters.
Someday, when I grow up, I would want to strive to be more like “David” and isn’t that sometimes why we write in the first place? We dream of places we can only imagine and think of people we could only hope to be. Art almost always has the chance to imitate life. When it can’t, we can always dare to dream.
the other since 1996. He is currently employed full time at Bloomberg LP as
a Systems Engineer in the R&D group. Jason lives in Wallingford Connecticut,
with his wife Renata. He is the father to four children, three boys and 1
girl - 11 years (Andrew), 9 years (Angela), 7 years (Adam) and 6 years old
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The link for "Another Sunset" is
and the cover is attached.