In case you can’t see from the photo at the top of this site, I have red hair. I also have green eyes.
It’s a bit of cliché in fantasy stories. Generally, the main female character will be a redhead and maybe even have mysterious green eyes.
You might think I’d be incredibly proud of this (and I am), but it also causes problems.
There are reasons redheads feature so much in fantasy. Redheaded women have a lot going for them when it comes to mythology, history and magic.
For example, during Medieval times it was often thought that redheads were witches because their hair was the colour of hellfire.
I don’t like writing clichés, so none of my characters have red hair.
But the cliché thing isn’t the only reason.
I can’t help but wonder, if I write a protagonist with red hair, and even green eyes, will readers think I’m writing about myself?
You wouldn’t think this would be a problem, except that there’s a character in my head who has red hair and green eyes. It’s pretty integral, in fact.
My problem is further made…problematic by the fact that most of my stories start life as a fantasy of mine or a bit of a Mary Sue (putting yourself into someone else’s world fan fiction stylee).
So actually, yeah, she kind of is me. A bit.
I mean, she’d grown over the years to not be me, but she is, deep down, a version of what I would like to be in that world.
Does that matter?
Do readers care?
If the story is good and well written, and the characters well developed, it shouldn’t matter if they bear a resemblance to the author.
Especially as many readers won’t know what the author looks like in the first place.
So allow your characters to take after you, allow them to look like you.
Live through your characters if you like.
Just make sure the story is good and the writing is the best you can do. Take your readers on the adventure they want.
And I’ll try and take my own advice.