Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thus Sprang Inspiration

I found out Tuesday evening that one of my friends from high school had passed away in a car accident earlier in the day.   We just celebrated our 10-year high school reunion this past July.  He had just celebrated his 29th birthday a few days ago.  And in an instant, he was gone.  Some people may say “that’s life,” or that “it happens” and while that is certainly true, obviously true, it doesn’t make it any less shocking, or make it hurt any less. 

He was one of those guys who was the epitome of a gentleman.  He was always kind and polite; he always held the door for a lady and pulled out her chair.  He would carry your bag for you if it were too heavy, and always asked if you wanted anything when he was going to the vending machines or the store.  All in all, he was just a really great guy and the world was a little brighter with him in it.
Gaily I lived as ease and nature taught,
And spent my little life without a thought,
And am amazed that Death, that tyrant grim,
Should think of me, who never thought of him.
~René Francois Regnier
The shock of this loss made me think about some of the men that I’ve written into my stories.  The type of men that they were in the beginning, and the type of man they each will become by the end of their stories.  It has surprised me greatly, over the past few hours, to discover that the men I’ve written carry so many of the characteristics that I find in the men who have surrounded me all my life. 

From the 5-year old boys who selflessly share their crayons with the other kids, to the high school teenager who stops on the way to school to give rides to kids who are walking. 

There are the 20-something year old men who are willing, and happy, to help babysit their friends kids; or the ones who shovel your sidewalk every morning when it’s really cold, just so that you don’t have to. 

In looking at my male characters, I found one in particular who reminds me of my passed friend.  My memories of him must have formed some aspect of the inspiration for the character, and through that character, for me, my friend will live on.

When working on and developing your characters, from where does your inspiration spring?


  1. I always get shocked when I find out that someone I know dies. And while death is an inevitable part of life, as to how and when it will come to a person is always a mystery. I am not writing a novel, but I get inspiration for my writing from random things. :-)

  2. So sorry to hear about your friend!! 29 is just way too young.

    When developing my characters--I take a lot of inspiration for just about everywhere--sometimes they are just people created from my imagination--sometimes they resemble people I know.

    Cheers, Jenn

  3. I'm so sorry to hear about your friend.

    I think there is always something about someone I know in every one of my characters.

  4. I'm so sorry. He sounds like an amazing person and my heart goes out to his family. "That's life" doesn't begin to sum up what can be lost in the blink of an eye.

    I try very hard to keep my characters true to themselves, but it never fails... when I look back on the reread, people from my life have crept into my characters in bits in pieces. Usually not the people actively in my life (since I try to make sure they don't appear!) but those I thought I'd long since forgotten.

  5. I am sorry for your friend's passing. It's a wonderful tribute to your friend that he is memorialized in your writing.

    I have to say that I have no idea where my characters come from. It seems like they start as am impression, and then as I write, they begin to exhibit traits I see in the men around me, or characters I have read in other books or movies. It really is a mystery to me.

  6. It's so hard to imagine a loss, especially someone so close to you. Sorry to hear of your loss.

    I think my characters come from inside me. I have so many aspects of myself that are hidden, maybe not me, but things that I think about. I'll sometimes say to myself, "I wonder why someone kills and what they're thinking when they do it. How would I feel?"

    Then I pretend and write. It's a lot like acting. :)

    I'm glad to have stopped by from Nicole's blog hop!

  7. I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. That's way too young for anyone to go.

    For me, I think my characters are inspired by myself and my family. I try not to have my characters so close in comparison to the people around me, and I try to work that out as much as I can, but sometimes it's tough!