Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Pieces Of Me (An IWSG Post)

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for another action-packed installment of the Insecure Writers Support Group.

I'm assuming that, by now, everyone coming here will be well versed with the IWSG, but in the event that you're new (and welcome, if you are!) or would just like more information or a complete list of participants, please click on the above link.

This month's co-hosts are Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Jennifer Hawes, and Tamara Narayan. And let's not forget the group's founder, Alex J. Cavanaugh.


This month's (optional) question asks, "Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?"


Sure. Well, maybe. I guess that depends on what one considers personal information. But various facets of me do leak into my writing. Some on purpose, some not.

For example, sarcasm. I am a sarcasm-based lifeform, and as such, I have a tendency to create sarcasm-based characters. Some are more sarcastic than others (I'm looking at you, Cate...), but they all have that tendency built into their DNA.



And because I am from New England, my characters also tend to be from New England (well, at least the ones not in my fantasy novels). I do that because I'm familiar with the region, and I like the authenticity it can lend to a story.

These same characters root for Boston sport teams, drink the occasional whiskey, and often love Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Firefly.

Which makes it sound like I have an entire army of sarcastic, whiskey-swilling, Red Sox fans when the truth is that there's only two such characters because (A) fantasy has been my primary focus for ages now and (B) it takes me a million years to write anything.

But in the interest of getting back on track...sometimes, these similarities aren't deliberate, or even intentional. Sometimes, they sneak in there and I don't realize it until much, much later. And occasionally, they're entirely perceived by readers who know me or, as it turns out, my family.

The Man, for example, came home from work one day and told me that his co-workers had decided that he was one of the characters in my novel, Effigy. When he told me which character, I had a good long laugh over it because he wasn't that character—or any character, for that matter—but it didn't stop anyone from finding similarities and reaching their own conclusion.

But I don't mind. Because it was hi-larious.

What about you? Have you ever written yourself or parts of yourself into a book or character? If not, do your readers think you did anyway?

Thanks for stopping by, y'all.

45 comments:

  1. I think there's a bit of me in most of my characters, like my love of books, or cats, or cool houses. Of course, a lot of my mcs are way tougher than I am, and way braver.

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    1. Oh yes, my MCs are always tougher, braver, and far cooler than I ever will be.

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  2. You, sarcastic? :)

    When I write more contemporary/realistic fiction people sometimes ask if the character is me, if the thing really happened, etc. How come they never ask the same thing about the horror stories? Like have I ever met a giant monster spider? :)

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    1. I got the "did this really happen" question about my fantasy book. I was like, what gave it away? The unicorns or the pegasus?

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  3. Love sarcastic characters! Yours are lucky to inherit such a cool trait from you. My poor characters often end up with anxiety, and other similarly fun issues, LOL.

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    1. It's a wonder my characters aren't more anxious, given my own tendencies toward it. But I guess it's just part of them being far tougher than I am. :)

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    2. Also, I love your characters very, very much.

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  4. Gave you a good laugh.
    I'm all for sarcastic characters. Bring on the snark.

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    1. Yes, it gave me a good laugh, and when I told some friends about the theory, they laughed long & loud, too. As did my critique partners. It's really given The Man quite the complex. We should probably stop laughing.

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  5. When my husband read one of my books, he asked if the main character was him. Not intentionally, but maybe a little of him was in there.

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    1. The Man hasn't read the book, so he has no idea to which character he was being compared. If I did it subconsciously, it was super subconsciously because I still don't see it. :)

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  6. I put bits of myself and others into my characters. I've realized that many of my heroines have a thing for Nathan Fillion. I will create thousands of fictional worlds but every one will have Nathan Fillion.

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  7. Yes, various facets of our personality do creep into our writing. Sometimes its very subconscious we aren't even aware of it.

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    1. True, very true. But I still don't see The Man's resemblance to this particular character. Maybe in this caseThe Working Man is a lot difference from The Man with whom I live? :)

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  8. I'm sure bits of myself are in my books. I know emotions often are because there have been scenes were I've drawn on my past because I needed those feelings.

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    1. Yes, I've done the same thing when I've needed to dig deep for an emotional scene.

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  9. Haha, my characters tend to be sarcastic too. Either laugh at yourself or sink in despair. How funny that your hub's co-workers think a certain character is him! LOL.

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    1. It really is funny. Especially with their choice of character. It's not particularly flattering, I don't think. *shrugs*

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  10. People who believe that they don't enter their own writing are... misguided, at best.

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    1. I think it would be really hard to avoid having some facet of ourselves leaking in in some way. Even if it's just a mood or an attitude, or a reaction to something.

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  11. No one I know personally reads my books, so I don't have to worry about anyone speculating if a character is someone I know. ;)

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    1. Whereas my entire readership is essentially people who know me personally. :)

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  12. I'm glad you got a laugh out of the co-worker's assumption. I just get weirded out when people think that the main character is me, or that I think exactly like one of my characters ... and I don't. I know that some stuff slips in, because adding some emotional truth to writing makes it more compelling, but I don't write characters like me. If so, the plot would be ... boring. I like adding a few swordfights and explosions, and villains into my stories. I don't get those in real life.

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    1. Right. There may be facets of me in a character, but that character is still way cooler and has way more adventures (including sword fights) than I ever will in my entire life.

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  13. Sarcasm is the essence of life! Hey, at least your characters are relateable. :)

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  14. That's funny that guy thought the character was based off him. I'm sure we can find characters to relate to, even when they have nothing to do with us.

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  15. Yeah, I probably have a lot of sarcasm based characters, too. And I wonder what in the world made that coworker think he was a character. Does he think he's that interesting?

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  16. Sarcasm. It's a must for at least one of my characters in each book. I usually write books based in the Midwest because that's where I'm from!

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  17. Nothing wrong with sarcasm!
    I think small traits often end up in my characters. Usually I'll think something like, why does this character not like a certain thing? Oh yeah, because I don't.

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  18. As a creature of sarcasm with quite a dry and sometimes dark sense of humor, I think I impart this to some of my characters--just because they're my sensibilities and sense of humor.

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  19. At least they didn't think that he was the evil antagonist character. That might not have set that well with him.

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  20. I think some people tend to think that about writers but I don't think I do. At least not that anyone could recognize.

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  21. Now I want to know which character.

    I think all my main characters are me in some way, shape, or form. Not entirely, mind, but enough.

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  22. There’s a bit of me, certain sides of my personality, that’s written into my characters. And if they have kids, they share some aspects of my children. Sometimes they say or do the darndest things that begs to be included in a story.

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  23. Sarcasm and Firefly? Sounds like *I* might be a character in one of your books . . .

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

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  24. "I am a sarcasm-based lifeform." What a beautiful phrase. I wish I came with it myself - then I'd be able to use it in my fiction. Alas, I can't. It would be plagiarism. Would it?

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  25. Could books, and their characters in particular, be a longer form of astrology? Like reading a newspaper horoscope, I suppose you could identify with a character based on just a few similarities.

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  26. Funny story about The Man and the character in your story. We all put bits & pieces of ourselves in our characters. Hard not to.

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  27. I'm like you, I take forever to write things, so I do not have many characters to compare myself to. The small collection of characters I have include some characteristics from myself, my friends and family, and memorable acquaintances.

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  28. That is such a funny story about the Man's coworker!

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  29. Yeah, often it's easier to put yourself or your own interests into a character because it's easier to make it seem real. There's reason like 3/4 of Stephen King's protagonists are writers...

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  30. None of my characters are sports fans - in a way the absence of that passion says something about me.

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