I often get the question, “Are your characters based on real people?”
My answer is yes and no.
To answer the question properly, I need to tell you how I develop my characters.
When I see a person who does something, or says something that grabs my attention in a big way, I begin to make him/her into a story character. Of course, when I’m finished with my story character, he/she is no longer remotely close to the person who caught my attention in the first place. However, the substance of that person was the first building blocks for creating my story character, so I like to think that a part of my story character is real.
An alternative book cover for The Alkahest
Not all my story characters are created this way. Some are a conglomeration of traits gathered from many personality types to produce the right story character for the role.
I would never use a real person in my stories because real people are boring in fiction. Story characters must be many times exaggerated and then some. They must be grander than life. Having said that, story characters are more reasonable in what they say or do. They have to be for the reader to understand them. In real life, people do irrational things, and we don’t understand why. In fiction, the reader understands why story characters do the things they do. They need to for the story to make sense to them.
“The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.” – Tom Clancy
That is the great thing about fiction and one of the main reasons that I love to write fiction – it’s different than life, more exaggerated than life is and far more versatile. My characters can do so much more, be so much more, and change so much faster than in real life.
I read and write fiction to escape everyday life. Real life people have their moments, but in fiction, the story characters, by far, outshine reality in a grandiose way.
One of the questions I’m asked often is how I created my Thoughtmovers in the Alkahest.
The answer is, the way that I create all my stories – through my imagination. When people, places, or things grab my attention, I begin to build a world around them and when that world is fully developed, it becomes a story. See my interview, Path to Writing
The Alkahest - New Novel by Alandra CL
The idea for my Thoughtmovers was inspired in an elevator. I was riding to the top of a skyscraper when the elevator stopped to let in more passengers, and in stepped three, tall, and very charismatic men. Standing close to seven feet, with gorgeous bodies, and handsome faces, I thought to myself that it wasn’t fair that these men were so perfect. At that precise moment, they all three turned around and smiled at me. It was as if they had read my thoughts and were thanking me for the compliment, hence came the idea of a tall and telepathic race known as the Thoughtmovers.
From there, I expanded on the idea and created the World of Kaldanien, where these powerful Movers rule the people. I went on and created a culture for them by providing them a different belief system, placing them in a higher caste, and even changing them physically by making them far taller than their human brethren.
Map of Kaldanien from the fantasy novel, The Alkahest
Once the storyline and the setting were established, I began my character developments. I choose a heroine and created a life around her, a life touched with misery but also filled with dreams, love, and a strong purpose. I chose a hero whose ambition was to free the people from servitude and to try to find a loving mate, to share his life with and help him in his goal.
My hero and heroine were then plunged into danger, despair, and all sorts of dire circumstances where they would be forced to make life-altering decisions amidst trying to find each other. The story begins there with book one, The Alkahest, and the rest is history.
Every day, I’m exposed to people, places, and things that make an impression on me, setting me off to build more stories around them. Some make a stronger impression on me than others do and those are the ones dearest to my heart. The Thoughtmover series is one of those special stories.