Things Not To Do When You Meet Someone Who Resembles Your Fictional Character #Writer #NaNoWriMo



There is something magical about meeting a person in real life who resembles your fictional character.

Trust me the experience will make you take a sharp intake of breath and may even result in you being a little unsteady on your feet.

Standing in front of someone who looks and acts just like the person in your novel can be mind-blowing.

I experienced this a few days ago in a coffee shop. A man, stood in front of me in the queue, was basically one of my draft novel’s main characters; Mikey. Just like my character Mikey, this person was devilishly handsome, had an eye for the ladies and a cheeky boyish smile. Readers – I struggled to remain in control of my emotions!

After purchasing my coffee, wiping my sweaty brow and watching him like a hawk (for a period of time) I sat down and trawled Google to see whether any other authors were experiencing this phenomenon of characters appearing in real life or was it just me. Thankfully I am not alone!

To my relief I found this article about comic science fiction author William Gibson (perhaps best known for the acclaimed Neuromancer) who tweeted a strange ‘sighting’: the character Milgrim from his recent books Spook Country and Zero History.

I also discovered that author Alan Moore himself has mentioned in an interview that he once saw one of his creations, the mage John Constantine (from the Hellblazer series), in a sandwich bar in London. “All of a sudden, up the stairs came John Constantine,” Moore revealed. “He looked exactly like John Constantine. He looked at me, stared me straight in the eyes, smiled, nodded almost conspiratorially, and then just walked off around the corner to the other part of the snack bar.”

Now my character did not give me a smile and nod (this could be a very different blog post if he had done….*blonde writer pictures devilishly handsome real life character giving her the nod as she orders her skinny latte* sigh!)  but the whole literary experience got me thinking about how to handle this interesting situation. My best advice is to follow my lead; stay calm and in control.

Here are the things NOT to do when you meet someone who resembles your fictional character:

  1. Stand and stare at them for ages with wide eyes and an open mouth.
  2. Squeal with literary excitement at them.
  3. Go sit on the other side of the room, pop on some dark glasses and peer at them from behind a menu.
  4. Mutter “OMG you actually real life?” 
  5. Say something like “oh my goodness you look just like someone I know!” – this inevitably leads to them asking you who…and before you know it you will find yourself in a very awkward situation where you are forced to explain that they are imaginary.
  6. Refer to them by your character’s name.
  7. Make a comparison between how they act in real life and how they act in your story / novel i.e. you might say something like “you are a charmer in real life and you charm the pants off everyone in my novel too!”
  8. Start quoting stuff from your book.
  9. Ask them to say a few key lines from your draft novel whilst you grab a notebook and scribble down some observations on body language and tone of voice.
  10. After revealing that they look like a character from your book, inform them that the character in question dies in suspicious circumstances in chapter nine and follow this with an evil laugh.
  11. Ask them for a selfie with you.

Have you ever come across one of your characters in real life?

Did you stay in control?

Have a great day!

Photo: UpSplash

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I am a blonde writer of romantic comedy fiction.

56 thoughts on “Things Not To Do When You Meet Someone Who Resembles Your Fictional Character #Writer #NaNoWriMo

  1. I hope not to meet anybody like the character I invented for a novella I’m writing! Well, in a way I do, it could be interesting, but only in a ‘smile, tip your hat politely, and walk away as quickly as possible’ kind of way… They might agree to a selfie first, though.

      1. This character is vain, self-centred, and thinks they are doing good – but actually they are not. I would say ‘shades of grey’, but that metaphor has been rather spoiled of late.

  2. Lol! Now that would be funny! I think what is harder is when after reading your work, a friend,/acquaintance /family member is convinced that the character is based on them!
    And though you haven’t done it intentionally…. there are similarities… 😆

  3. My youngest cousin (she’s almost three) is the spitting image of one of my characters at that age. White blonde hair, impish grin, blue eyes, button nose. The whole nine yards.
    Their names are even similar. Hers being Evie and my character’s being Eva.

    Thankfully, I’m more than welcome to stare and oogle my cousin. And she absolutely delights in being photographed by me. Once she’s older, I might not be able to hold back the temptation of getting her to cosplay my character. Poor little girl was born in a family of crazy.

  4. Reblogged this on Pixie's Musings and commented:
    This literally had me giggling. My friend over at BlondeWriteMore truly captured this. I have indeed ran into someone who looked like a character from my book and indeed had to stop myself from hyperventilating!

  5. Haha. No, I’ve never met a look-alike to a character I’ve invented. Come to think of it, a handsome stranger walked up to me and asked, “Don’t I know you?” Blast me to heaven, it was HIM. A character I’d given up on. o_O It was. It was. HE recognized ME? 😀 😀 😀

  6. This made me giggle, because I know I would be totally guilty of the whole staring thing… or asking for a selfie if I wasn’t feeling particularly shy that day. Thankfully I am most days as it keeps me from totally embarrassing myself.

  7. I actually met a girl at a writers conference that looked exactly like my main character AND had the same name!

    I wanted to ask her if I could take a picture soooo bad, or at least sneak one, but I convinced myself that I’d act like a normal person (ha!) and just add her on facebook after the event to access a slew of her pictures (okay, now I sound creepy lol).

    Don’t rely on this method! I found out her last name is basicly the equivalent of Smith, with thousands of results, and have yet to find her 😦 Maybe she’s an instagram gal hahaha 🙂

  8. I’ve had this happen too. A waitress at a restaurant I’d never tried before is the spitting image of my major characters in my work in progress and all I could do was stare at her. I’m guessing the tip I left here at the end of the evening wasn’t enough to cover the creepy vibe I must have put out.

  9. I’d love to tell you about meeting my former CIA agent who’s gone rouge at a tiny cafe in Mexico (I looked hot by the way) but then I’d have to have him kill you.
    Nada es más emocionante que la vida real, Amiga.

      1. The pretty blonde looked up from her laptop, annoyed by the interruption, “If you must hover over my coffee at least put the gun away. You’re Elvis, I presume? Not my taste but La Amercana apparently wants to keep you alive so take a seat and try to look British.”

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