Wednesday, October 4, 2017

IWSG: Let's Get Personal

Got a question about writing, publishing or editing? The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the best support group around for writers. You don't even have to be insecure--but it's okay if you are! Sign up at this LINK, then post anything writing related on the first Wednesday of every month. Not sure what to post? There is a prompt question you can answer if you don't want to post your own insecurity. 

Many thanks to our host Alex Cavanaugh and his awesome co-hosts for the October 4 posting of the IWSG are Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Jennifer Hawes, and Tamara Narayan!

This month's question is: Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

Answer: Yes. Not on purpose though. I only realized later...

My teen character Indigo Eady was orphaned at sixteen years old. She went to live with her uncle in England, bringing with her only a trunk of her belongings, nothing more. On an intellectual level, she knew her father was dead, she didn't deny it. She just didn't talk about it. And if she didn't unpack her trunk, then his death wasn't quite permanent or as painful. So she refused to unpack the trunk. She took things out as she needed them and then put them back. Her bedroom, unlike most teenager's, was bare (or empty). Sort of a metaphor for the situation she found herself in. (Before this gets maudlin, I offset the situation with humor when the ghost of Franny, a former Victorian madam of some repute, had formed an attachment to Indigo, so she'd unpack the trunk at every turn and forced Indigo to face her reality). 

And how does this relate to me? I'm not an orphan. But I noticed that there is a correlation between my character's physical trunk and my metaphorical trunk where I keep some of my personal "things". Sometimes I pull these things out to examine them, but then tuck them back into the trunk and gently close the lid. At one time I would have said "shove" these things to the bottom of the trunk, cover that stuff up, and "slam" the lid hard. But with time comes perspective, and perspective brings healing.  

Everyone has a "trunk". It's impossible to go through life without one. Some people have more in their trunks than others. Items in the trunk change or become less significant than they once were and you don't need to slam down the lid anymore. You might even leave the lid open because you no longer care who sees what's inside.  

These behaviors are all part of the human condition. As writers we tap into it all the time. It's what connects us as human beings. When we can relate to our readers, it's why they buy our books. Because we've touched on something they can understand and relate to. 

What about you?

Do you slip personal aspects of yourself into your characters?