Disclaimer, as printed in the novel I just read:
This is a work of fiction. All of the characters portrayed in this novel are the product of the author’s imagination and any similarities are coincidental.
Liar liar pants on fire!
Come on now. As a writer there’s NO WAY that parts of my characters aren’t borrowed – or at the very least inspired – from people I know in real life. My girlfriend thinks she resembles someone from my current book. Um, maybe. Okay, sorta. All right, yeah, but only certain parts. I swear. Please don’t sue me.
Yes, I “borrow”. For example, I eavesdrop on people’s conversations all the time. I remember just about everything anyone’s ever told me, right down to the way their face looked when they said it. Because the things people actually say in real life make the best book dialogue. Consider the following:
Overheard at Wal-Mart:
“One of my boobs hangs lower than the other, but Carl doesn’t mind so long as I keep my bra on.”
Overheard at Starbucks:
“Who do you think would win in a fight between a midget and a retard?”
Overheard through a thin bedroom wall when I was an overnight guest in someone’s house:
Man: “You stink.”
Woman: “Where? Down there?”
Man: “Yeah. There too.”
I could make this stuff up, but frankly, I don’t need to. I can rip it from real life. All or one of these lines may end up in a book someday. So yeah, if you say something to me, it could be used as material. Just a heads up.
I’m not saying all my characters are reincarnations of friends and family. They’re not. I just work in bits and pieces to help keep things authentic. In my as-yet-unfinished third novel, the main character is a sales rep (thanks, Steve) who’s afraid to commit (thanks, guys I’ve dated before Steve) to his lovely hard-working Financial Aid officer girlfriend (thanks, people I worked with at the University of Waterloo).
I also take bits of myself, too. Like marital arguments (those are always good), or the funny things that happen during sex (those are even better). I’ll never tell you what came from where, but if you read something I wrote and can relate to it on any level, then I’d say it was worth the theft.
I am Victor Frankenstein and I’d like to introduce you to my monsters.
Please don’t sue us. Seriously. We mean no harm.