IWSG October

It is the first Wednesday in October, which means it’s time for IWSG DayThe awesome co-hosts for the October 4 posting of the IWSG are Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Jennifer Hawes, and Tamara Narayan!

What insecurities do I have this month? Well, I have one project I’m losing interest in, but trying to persevere and finish. I have another project idea bearing ideas for a series and characters and plot.

Which brings me around to this month’s IWSG question:


Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

I remember my theater major friends in college talking about how they had to “find their way in” to a character. The longer I write, the more characters I come up with, the more I realize that I, too, need to find my way in to a character, even if our circumstances are utterly different. 

For my historical characters, the personal information we share isn’t very personal at all, if we indeed share anything in common. 

For the few contemporary characters I’ve written to completion, the problem is usually that we have too much in common. I’m generally more comfortable in historicals because the time period and such dictates that my characters and I are very different people. In contemporaries, I’ve had a harder time not making the characters into fictionalized versions of myself or friends, which is really annoying. I don’t even do it on purpose. It’s just mostly turned out that way. 

But I guess there’s always a little something in my characters of myself: a particular point of view, a dry sense of humor, an emotional reaction, cultural similarities. They’re more intangible and only people who know me really well would be able to read one of those and realize that that’s from me and not the character; or they may not know that that little bit of information is from me at all.

So, of course, the new project series idea is a contemporary and I am determined to make sure that a) these stories are outlined because I’m tired of this mid-manuscript confusion and b) I want to develop my characters as people on their own.

The upside of contemporary? Not having to dive into tons of research. I can watch YouTube videos as research. Oh, my God, I’m so excited!

28 thoughts on “IWSG October

  1. LOL! That's my kind of research! ^_^It's been a long time since I purposely inserted something from the real world, but little things about me rub off on my characters for sure. There's a reason we all work so well together. When I was writing straight up contemporary, my friends actually wanted me to put them in my stories. Once I went back to paranormal, it was, \”Don't put me in your book, I don't want you to feed me to vampire!\” Haha.

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  2. I have to \”find my way\” into a character too, so your reference to your theater friends in college really resonated, Michelle. I found your comparison of character writing in contemporary and historical stories informative and interesting. Happy writing in October!

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  3. I think it's impossible to write a main character which doesn't have anything from us, simply because they are born in our minds. Youtube is fantastic research! Lol! At least, I keep telling myself that to push back guilt.

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  4. I like that phrase 'finding your way into a character'. That sounds like an excellent way to describe it, no matter how much of yourself makes up that character's personality.Best of luck with your new project. Gotta love that YouTube research!

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  5. See, I'm never sure if I exude my characters' personality traits, or if they exude mine. I often feel like I'm channeling a character if I'm being bossy, or air-headed, or downright stubborn. And hey! I totally just read your story in Full Dark and had to smile at the pronunciation bit with the character's name, since that's my daughter's name. 🙂

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  6. Good point–sometimes I think I take on certain traits when I'm in deep with a character. I think we talked about it being daughter's name on a past blog post somewhere, probably when I mentioned the story, having just written it.

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  7. That's an interesting angle to think about having to find your way into a character to make them more interesting and complex. There's probably something to that being in some ways easier when the character is very different and you have to work harder to get there. Never thought about it that way.Anne from annehiga.com

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