We have all become jaded to the admonition "write what you know." But these examples of "famous literary characters based on real people" presented by Stacy Conradt at mental_floss may persuade budding writers to rethink their dismissal of this often ridiculed dictum. Especially when it comes to creating memorable characters.
|From: Mujeres Riot|
"Even as one of the wittiest female characters in literary history, Nora Charles from The Thin Man doesn’t hold a candle to her inspiration, Lillian Hellman. Lillian was author Dashiell Hammett’s lover for 30 years, but she was also a respected playwright, screenwriter, author and outspoken political activist. Hammett apparently told Hellman that she was the inspiration for his female villains as well."
— Stacy Conradt, mental_floss