For as long as I can remember, I’ve been basing characters that I create off of friends, family, and basically anyone else I’ve ever met. Rarely are the characters meant to be exact replicas of the people they were inspired by, but it does happen sometimes. (Namely in that early teens series I wrote about my friends and me… They were bad, and every so often, my husband — who was one of the friends involved — enjoys holding it over my head.)
What’s more fun, though, is reading about how different authors did this with each other, as is the case for two of my all-time favorites: JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis.
While they had their differences, the duo were friends for quite a while and spent plenty of time discussing their ideas with each other and the rest of the Inklings. Inevitably, this means that they ended up incorporating each other into their own works.
Lewis wrote Tolkien as the protagonist of his Space Trilogy, Dr. Ransom. While all three books in the trilogy are great, Out of the Silent Planet is a definite must. And while it might not be a well-known book now (though it did make it into a science fiction class at the university I attended… it was always full, so I never did get to do it), Tolkien added Lewis to one that everyone knows: The Lord of the Rings. Some of his mannerisms and his style of speaking were embodied in Treebeard.
If you want to read more about Tolkien and Lewis, check out the original article I found here.
Do you know of any authors who wrote about each other? What’s your favorite character based on someone you really know?