Writing

Why I Don’t Base My Characters Off of People I Know

You’ve probably heard this from many authors: base your characters off people you know. A lot of writers do that, including big ones like J.K. Rowling. However, unlike them, I never base characters off people I know.

That being said, I do often develop them like people I know. Many characters in my books were developed like family members and people I went to school with, including teachers.

However, the ideas of those characters were often for plot convenience or inspired by other fictional sources, such as movies, books, or even legends. In fact, the antagonist in my second book of the “Magical Missions” series was inspired by the Grim Reaper. Believe it or not, in early drafts, he was more like the death figure: pure evil and carrying a scythe. But now he is not like that. I developed him to make the readers sympathize with him more. I won’t spoil anything else from the story, though.

Why don’t I base characters off people I know, you might ask? Because I just feel uninterested and find basing my characters off of other fictional sources better. My life has been pretty straightforward and ordinary. While I’m more social than I used to be, real people inspiring me for characters just doesn’t happen.

travel

These Are Unique Outside the State of New York

Image from PIxabay

I lived most of my life in New York. I was born in Texas, but only lived there till I was 15 months. So, Identify myself as a New Yorker. Ironically, I don’t have a New York accent. Neither do my brothers. It’s probably because my mom grew up in Massachusetts, so my siblings and I have her accent.

Anyway, there is so much I’m used to in New York that doesn’t really exist outside the state. Check out these unique things that pretty much is only in New York, or maybe nearby states.

1: President’s Week in February

This exists in New England and New York. However, the rest of the country only does President’s Day off and not a long week of vacation.

2: Family-Owned Pizzerias

There may be other parts of the country where these exist, but they’re pretty typical for New York.

3: Delis with sandwiches and other types of food.

I discovered years ago that delis outside New York usually meant just cold cuts.

4: Diners

Some diners exist in states near New York, such as Silver Diner in Virginia. But according to my mom, diners are more of a New York thing.

5: Children’s milestones being celebrated as banquets

These might be a little popular in some other major cities, such as Chicago, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles (I’ve seen hall websites that list them). But in many parts of the country outside New York, big-deal bar and bat mitzvahs and sweet 16s are not a thing. People usually only use halls for weddings, maybe birthdays and anniversaries. But in places like Ohio, Oregon, and Seattle, the biggest way to celebrate kids’ milestones would be a low-key backyard party. Kids and adults in those areas who know that children’s milestones are celebrated like weddings in the New York City area probably consider that an oddity.

6: Light coffee meaning with cream and sugar

I discovered this while on a weekend trip to Chicago years ago. I asked for my coffee light, and the person behind the counter said that they only had medium roast. I explained that I meant to ask for cream and sugar. Then my mom told me that light coffee meaning cream and sugar was only a thing in New York. Even in New Jersey, light coffee means light roast.

So, if you ever visit or move into New York, keep these cultural aspects in mind.

Writing

Why You Should Wait to Publish a Hardcopy of Your Book

Image from Pixabay

I know, I know. Many people prefer hardcopies over eBooks. Many writers and publishers will say you should have a hardcopy or paperback available with your eBook.

I agree…if you’re satisfied with your reviews. I realized this recently. I’ve published too many premature books that got just okay reviews but not super-satisfying ones. So, I removed them from the market. However, only the eBooks are gone forever. Sadly, the print books will be there for the rest of time. Amazon and other retailers list print versions for third-parties to sell copies, even if the author removed them from the market. And if the paperbacks and hardcovers are listed permanently, the reviews will be there forever.

Now I have a bunch of books on Amazon that aren’t available anymore (except maybe from third-party sellers) but will never be taken down. I hope it doesn’t ruin my reputation as an author.

That’s when I started to give myself a new rule: no print copies may be published unless I have at least a few reviews that are very satisfying—not just so-so. That way, if I’m not happy with the reviews, I can remove the eBook and the listing shouldn’t stay up.

If you’re traditionally publishing, this might not work as the publisher will have the rights. But if you’re self-publishing, then I would highly recommend this, even if you send out pre-publication copies and they’re all satisfying. That excludes people you know personally.

I have an eBook on pre-order and it’s the third time publishing a particular story that has only okay feedback the first time and even the second time, despite the drastic changes I made. I revised and removed even more material in this third edition. I am still nervous about the reactions, both before and after publication.

Hopefully, the reviews will be more pleasing than ever. But if they’re not, I will know what to do.