I have to confess – my very first novel in 1968, which was based on a story I originally wrote in my teens, had a very idealised and romantic view of a teacher I had a crush on when I was about 15. But I don’t think for one minute he would recognise himself!
I suppose Aaron Sorkin and NBC could sue me for using their West Wing characters in my fanfiction stories despite the disclaimer one writes for every fanfic story. Martin and Stockard would probably laugh their socks off at the sexy scenes I gave their characters in those stories!
I don’t base my invented characters on anyone I know. When I start writing a story, I have a vague image in my mind of what they look like. As I continue, that image solidifies somehow. I can see them. If I can’t I know I’m in trouble!
Then I may see a picture of someone and think ‘Yes, he/she looks just like my hero/heroine’. It happened when I saw a singer on TV and thought ‘That’s Jess.’ It doesn’t always happen but that doesn’t matter. The image is there in my mind.
I have to hear their voices in my head too. With one of my novels, I had problems finding a ‘voice’ for my hero, until the first friend who read it said she could hear the voice of a certain famous music mogul. Voice-wise anyway. But no way did I want my favourite hero to look like him (not with that hair!). I could see him – vaguely, but not enough. Then I found him (think Darcy). Yes, now I’ve got him. One man's voice and anothe man's looks. Don't think I can be sued for that!