Am I suggesting what you suspect? Writing your father brothers sisters mother aunties and uncles? Friends? Am I saying you serve up your nearest and dearest, slightly disguised, on a plate?
You know them better than you know yourself? (Time to post. Blogger is beginning to cramp up. I was going to add in an image. There's refusal somehow.)
I was a young woman once. I remember what it was like. In my younger days I often cast myself as a devil's advocate to someone's angelic exhortations. Yes, I am a bitch at times. All giving me plenty of material to write young women like Rowan, an antagonist causing much grief among my beta-readers.
How would I write a man? Nalbo is a few years older than I am. The way I sometimes feel, I might as well be old. He's human. I'm human. I've given him some of my stubbornness to contrast him with Cele, his wife best friend and partner in their project. She is also me, though she's better looking. She's young at heart most of the time and she has my impulsivity.
"Your middle name should be Rue," Nalbo said once. "Because I suspect you are going to regret this mightily."
Like me sometimes, he's a bit of a stick in the mud.
But Cele never needed to take Rue as her middle name, because she doesn't do regret. She knows she is impulsive even when the result can not be undone. Sometimes that is the very reason she is impulsive, to have to start.
So how did I come to write a young man like Tardi Mack, the protagonist of Monster-Moored?
He's human. I'm human.
He's young. I remember how it was being young.
He's male, I'm female. Incontrovertible fact.
This is where I get help from my some of my nearests and dearests. I ask them, what would you do in this/that situation? How would you do this or that? I don't ask things that'll scare them off. I'll extrapolate. (Love that word)
I write it all down and invest the action with those of my feelings that fit the scene.