The Same Main Characters
by Layla Melody Tyler
I've written 10 books or so but the weird thing is that the main characters are almost the same all the time. They have the same names, almost the same look (only the eye colour changes) but completely different backstories: They live in places from England to Romania and places that don't even exist and they are born in those places; They know each other for completely different reasons (they are sisters or old friends or they've just met in the book); They have different friends and so on.
My question: Is this ok or is just too weird and I have to do something with this?
I must mention that the reason from which I do this is because I identify those characters with real people from my life.Response:
Okay, so your characters have different backstories and different nationalities, but they look the same, have the same names, and are based on people you know.
I'm tempted to ask whether you live in some strange community populated by clones. :)
Seriously, your dilemma makes me wonder if all these main characters are based on the same two people who you have some special interest in. This happens sometimes. For instance, people who love their spouse tend to make all their romantic leads a copy of him/her. Other people always write main
characters who are copies of themselves. Usually writers will change the characters' physical description but find themselves writing the same personality over and over.
To get back to your question, is this a problem?
Honestly, writers can get away with it. Lucy Maude Montgomery wrote most of her books about girls whose mothers had died who go live on farms in PEI where they are raised by a very stern woman who's in charge and another, warmer adult who isn't. Publishers kept publishing her books.
Truth is, many readers who like the kind of character you write about will come back for more. That's why authors often reuse the same character in multiple books (for example, most great fictional detectives appear in multiple novels). Sometimes that's not practical, so it's easier to write about similar characters.
However, I would suggest that you might grow as a writer if you tried writing about a different type of protagonist or a different type of relationship.
I'm sure you know more than two people. More importantly, you have an imagination that can be a source of new characters.
Putting yourself into the head of other personalities is a great exercise. It's also a way to keep your writing fresh.
At the very least, I'm sure you could change their appearance a little? Hair colour? Height? Number of fingers?