Write People You Know

Every Wednesday, YA Highway asks their readership a simple question to answer on your blog. Once you answer, you link your blog in the comments for other readers to hop on board. This is Road Trip Wednesday. 

Today's question: Who from real life have you written into a book?

My creative writing professor in college gave us this sound advice on incorporating real life people into works of fiction:

"Change their penis or breast size."

Um, no Annie, that's not how it works.

Like a lot of the other road trippers, I'm a trait stealer. In Falling to Normal, Cheyenne's extremely Catholic uncle is modeled in part by my dad and several conversations I've had with my former nun aunt. At least the staunch Catholic part is. And all of Cheyenne's extended family is modeled in part after my father's 18 brothers and sisters*.
With this many aunts & uncles, you got an inevitable trait farm.
An earlier version of Falling to Normal even ripped kids I went to high school with. I drilled that down to two people, one of those being me. (I know what you're thinking: "god, she thinks highly of herself." No, my fictionalized self is the worst case scenario: naive as hell, a major follower, and no spine. I wouldn't be friends with fictionalized me.) The other is one of the besties and again I've made her a worst-case scenario of herself**.

The White One has even been fictionalized in that yet to be titled co-authored project***.

Out of these, I find that fictionalizing my family the easiest to do. I think this is because there's a distance there that you don't always have with the besties.

How do you handle fictionalizing real people?

* That's not an exaggerated number.
** Since she's read a gazillion drafts, I don't think she has a problem with this.
*** Speaking of, you can read an excerpt from chapter 2 here.
Last.fm hit of the day: Hail! Hail! by Ike Reilly