IWSG October

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

I think we always put a little of ourselves into our characters, both main and secondary. It’s difficult not to. All narratives are drawn from personal experience (whether it’s something we’ve done, witnessed, or has been pieced together from a myriad of sources.)

Often, when creating characters, I try to evaluate first what I would do in the given situation, and then weigh that against what the character would do. Understanding why they’d do something differently than you would is important to keeping them true to themselves throughout the whole story. Especially important when you think of an awesome way to handle something… but it’s an action that character would never take (unless you can find a way to make them go against their predetermined nature.)

There is one book, currently in a weird draft purgatory, where its quick rough draft (a sprint-written document that’s about 50% of the end-goal word count) gave one of the main characters a backstory that was very nearly identical to part of my own past. In the process of notating what needed to change before I hunker down and write the actual draft, I’ve removed or changed that backstory in a way that it is only vaguely similar to what I experienced… because her story has a completely different “ending” than mine did.


  1. I'd worry that if I depended on my life to give me ideas for stories, that I would end up writing something dull (which is a blessing, actually) and/or I'd run out of ideas pretty quickly. I like my characters to do and experience things totally outside of my experience. Of course, getting inside their heads is tricky.

  2. I do that too: take something from life and change it to fit a different character or a different milieu. Imagine what would a dragon do, if its mate cheated...

  3. So many writers subconsciously inject themselves into their stories. I supposed I do it too, but I let my imagination roam quite a bit.

  4. I put some things in my books for sure, not including blood, sweat and tears. Hah!


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