IWSG: Sometimes It Is All about Me!

Is it IWSG time again? Oh my—tempus sure does fugit. The Insecure Writers’ Support Group is a safe haven for writers of all kinds, where you’ll find resources for every step of the writing and publishing journey. On the first Wednesday of each month, IWSG sponsors a blog-hop. Check them out here: http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

This month’s IWSG blog-hop question – Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

September was for yard renovation and family visits, not for blogging, alas.

I actually wrote on this month’s topic back in August twenty-third in Fashion and Vengeance: What I’ve Learned about Myself by Writing Fiction. Please scroll down and take a look if you’re interested.

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Of course my stuff winds up in my characters! Is there a writer who doesn’t do this? Some resemblance shows up in surface details: though I’ve stopped dying my hair with henna (no longer flattering on my aging complexion), my female protagonists all have reddish hair, along with my green eyes and freckles. Hmm.

And then there are themes and motifs in my fiction that reveal lessons I should have learned in real life. For example, I’ve tended to jump right into romantic relationships like a kid making a cannonball dive—cowabunga! (This has not always worked out well.) But my protagonists are more cautious—they struggle with inner conflict over relationships that are moving uncomfortably fast. Hmm.

Another theme that echoes my own life is reinvention. I think it’s a universal human desire, especially in middle age, to re-evaluate the path we’re on and correct course. I lucked into the opportunity to start a new chapter, though years of hard work and saving for retirement certainly helped. My protags are also mature women who either can or must start anew.  And, like me, they believe in signs from lost loves or the Great Spirit or what have you—arrows that point us in the direction we’re meant to take. Hmm.

It looks like I need to stretch myself more as a writer and create protagonists who resemble me less—and I am, in my current WIP. Since romance novels are usually written in alternating male/female POV, I’m working on my first male protagonist. I was hesitant to do this, thinking it would be hard to create an authentic man. Any romance fan has read stories in which the male lead talks and acts and reacts like a very girly woman. Fortunately, the guys in my critique group are helpful for corralling that problem.

How about you? How closely do your protagonists resemble yourself?


15 thoughts on “IWSG: Sometimes It Is All about Me!

  1. Olga Godim

    My female protagonists often echo my personality as well. As for my male characters – more often than not they represent my ideal man, the guy I always wanted but never got. Although I have to admit: not sure if he is real. Might be just the figment of my imagination.

  2. C.D. Gallant-King

    I’ve been making a concentrated effort to make my characters less like me. I don’t know if I am/will be successful with it, but it’s better than constantly having similar characters that are always suspiciously the same age I was when I wrote it. 😛

    IWSG October

  3. Lee

    I’m with you on the reinvention theme. I’m almost there, with the same kind of luck you had – hard work and savings. Your observations make me realize that my characters have my “personal information” in a much broader sense than hair color or a particular trait.

  4. cgcoppola

    You’re right – we all do this. My current female protag is the first that doesn’t have brown hair and brown eyes. So, big step for me.

    I’ll bet you’ll have fun writing that male protag part!

  5. Kathy

    Hi there! Thanks for the post. I’m still very early on in my writing journey, and so I honestly don’t know if my male characters come across as feminine, or if my female characters resemble me (psychologically, that is). I strongly suspect that my current female MC is more proactive version of myself, but I feel no compulsion to change that. Not yet. Like I said, I’m new to this. A few books down the road, if I’m still writing MC’s who are basically me manifest on the page, then I’ll start to worry. As for writing men who act like “super girly women,” I’m not sure what you mean by that because I have read few romance novels. Happy IWSG day (a day late), and happy writing to you.

  6. Cherie Colyer

    I have a couple of female protagonist with similar hair as me. There are small things about other characters that I stole from people I know, mostly likes and dislikes. 🙂

    Critique partners are wonderful, aren’t they? I treasure mine.

  7. cheriereich

    It’s nearly impossible to divorce the writer from what is written. I know who I am influences my stories. Even my favorite color tends to turn up quite a bit. Heh.


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