I was walking along the other day. I forget where, I think it was somewhere near my Mum's house.
So I was walking along, thinking about one of my characters, and how I had come to realise not long ago that I had got one aspect of her character wrong. And now that I knew more about her, I wondered how I had come to know that about her. I mulled over other aspects of her character, like personality and appearance. And then I realised what had happened.
Tawny (the character I was thinking about) is a younger, fantasy version of Joss. Joss is a character I wrote about in a short story for class over two years ago now. She is one of my favourite characters, and I've always wanted to write about her more. And then unwittingly, I did, albeit in a completely different circumstance and scenario. It makes me happy, but also makes me feel a little foolish. Have I done this before?
And just as I was thinking that, I realised that Caroline*, the protagonist from the recent short story, is very similar Molly, from the same WiP as Tawny. Granted, the similarities are less obvious, but they are there.
Character similarities across different works isn't exclusive to me, because this train of thought reminded me of those personality tests on Facebook. I did two within a short space of time, 'Which Firefly Character are You?' and 'Which Joss Whedon** Character are You?'. I got Wash, then Xander (from Buffy). These guys are almost the same character.
And there are many other authors and film makers who do this as well as recurring themes and plots. Whether it's a good thing, bad thing, or just a thing, I haven't figured out. But it makes me feel better that I'm not the only one.
Has this ever happened to you?
*Named after my cousin, because she asked me to name a character after her.
**Joss partly was named after him.