The Ideal Self and the Character

A new character sprang into my head last night I began to think about where my characters come from. In the early days, the male characters at least, were projections of myself onto paper. I first started writing fantasy by fantasizing and I still get a character started that way. It’s funny to me that my first book, Neophyte, became the story of a character I’d originally conceived as second tier.
If the character is too close to your actual self I think it’s hard to put them through life-altering challenges. I have to admit that I don’t read romance fiction but I see some similarities between elements of the genre and fantasy. Often, in fantasy, the writer presents a character who is vaguely drawn: then the reader can project themselves into the character’s situation. In what little romance I’ve read I’ve seen a similar tendency with heroines though the majority of my knowledge of the genre comes from Margaret Atwood’s deconstruction of it in Lady Oracle.
I prefer a fully fleshed character myself and try to write such. I think a character should have motivations. Maybe in fantasy every character is a bit of a cliche. There might not be anything new under the sun to be written, but hopefully I’m doing a good job of giving it all a fresh spin. I guess these agent queries and slush submissions will be the proof.

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