I know that, at least on some level, every character I write is an extension or facet of me. Oh, they never look like me, but they might hold a similar opinion or childhood experience or personality traits, or held similar jobs. I don’t write autobiographical novels but I can usually find at least a passing similarity to a lot of my characters.
Lately, it seems to be getting out of hand. A novel draft sitting on my desk contains a character so into coffee, she special orders her beans and almost every scene involves coffee in some way (time to edit!). A short story I wrote had a minor character addicted to chocolate in any form.
These characters are getting personal. Its bad enough they steal the pain of my first broken heart or adopt the relationship I had with my grandfather or lost a pet the same way I did. Now they are going after my deeply – dare I saw habitual? – ingrained desires.
If the next character I write cracks a joke about intravenous coffee AND professes a craving for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or Lindor Truffles, I fear for my future as an aspiring author.
Of course, I know part of the reason. I’ve been spending great swaths of time at home, inside my four walls, where my coffee pot and the occasional chocolate treat are major characters in my personal story. It is definitely time to get back out into the world, write at coffee shops or a café, eat a few potato chips, or maybe some mixed nuts.
At the very least, I’ll have more habits to give my characters, and at best I’ll be stuffing experience, observation, and detail into the well (or the compost heap depending on which metaphor you prefer) to feed the writer part of me. However, if you pick up a book one day and read about a character heinously addicted to these, do me a favor. Tell me to get out of the house.
Though I am aware of the reasons and have a plan to deal with the issue, I really hope my next character is addicted to…roller coasters. Yeah, roller coasters. That’s an addiction I absolutely will not develop in this lifetime. I guarantee.