X is for Xylophilous

X is for Xylophilous!

So it’s the last half-week of A to Z, and we’re on one of the most interesting letters to theme, X. And because I like finding odd words, I’ve decided to go with xylophilous for today, =)

Xylophilous is defined as growing on or living in wood; I also saw it described as attracted to or fond of wood. Of course, this definition tends to be directed towards things like fungus and beetles, that physically live inside wood, or grow on wood. But when I first saw this term, and the phrases fond of wood and living in wood, my mind went to the image of a hermit living in the woods, which immediately brought me to think of a certain character from another story that I love, and that I would love to recreate in my own way someday (although I’m not sure I ever will).

So my point of today is to talk about those outside influences that find their way into your writing. I mentioned earlier this month the idea of places that pop up repeatedly in your writing, but today I am focusing more on characters.

Are there characters from some place (a book, a fairy-tale, a movie or tv show, a legend, your family, etc. etc.) that have touched you so greatly you find them wiggling their way into your writing?

Clearly this is common. Writers write about their friends, or themselves, quite often, and with the amount of retellings (I speak here more of specific retellings like Alice in Wonderland, rather than the vague retellings of fairy-tales or legends) that are circulating the bookshelves these days, it’s obvious that characters can definitely have this kind of impact. (Plus, I know a few writers who have written characters with their dream actor counterparts in mind!)

And I can’t say I’m immune, either. I’ve done this a few times, taken inspiration from other characters. By the time I’m finished, my characters have morphed and changed into their own separate beings who are often quite different from the original sources of inspiration, but that doesn’t change where that original inspiration came from. It’s not always how I write; often characters come to me unformed or formed from my own imagination, but I can’t deny the occasional pre-existing inspiration.

How about you? Do you have characters that inspire your own writing?

3 Responses so far.

  1. Brandon Ax says:
    I never try to right someone person for person into my books. Instead I find traits I like in people and sometimes add them to a character.

    Brandon Ax: Writer's Storm

  2. cleemckenzie says:
    I can't say that I'm inspired from people I know, but like Brandon, I collect characteristics I like or don't like, and I save them for when I need them. I suppose that we're all influenced by characters we read about at kids, so I probably do pull from Alice or Anne of Green Gables, but my characters aren't them. Interesting post today.
  3. S.K. Anthony says:
    Like your two first awesome commenters, I've used traits I like from people I know…but mainly I go with what my head tells me they're like.

    PS-I will comment on your next two posts next week when I get back from vacation. Also, I'll let you know when I finally work on "My Writing Process" game you tagged me in a while back. I didn't forget! Time is just running away from me.

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