IWSG: The Personal Stuff

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Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG
October 4 question – Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?
The awesome co-hosts for the October 4 posting of the IWSG are Olga Godim,Chemist Ken,Jennifer Hawes, and Tamara Narayan!
I’m not really sure how personal information has to be to be personal information. An old friend of mine says that I’m an audience person, as opposed to a people person, or a private person. More comfortable on stage than mingling afterward.
The ideas that I’m playing with find their way into my stories. Sometimes, I sneak in a “message,” but I’m probably not going to write my best friend into a book, and I’m always careful that nobody’s recognizable on the blog unless they want to be. So, while I might give you the general outline of a real-life non-writer I know, it would never be something like “My friend JOHN SMITH who is exactly 5 foot Nine with Red Hair, freckles, and lives at 123 Embarrassing Lane…”
And, mostly, the messages are thinned out, and the ideas aren’t totally things that anybody’d be wildly concerned about, anyway.
Some of my places are based on places I’ve been, and some of them are research, and some are made up. I’d like to believe no one can tell the difference, but I’m pretty sure they can. If I’ve taken up a hobby, it’s fairly likely that someone in my WIP does the same thing. (Of course, there’s a good chance I’ve moved on before anyone sees it.)
For me, the question is more… what do I want to share? I try never to share something, if I think I’ll change my mind in a week or a month… And how much can I share before people start hating me in great masses?


  1. Reply

    Isn’t that where the ‘write what you know’ stuff comes in handy? Not so much ‘I must write about being a schoolteacher ‘coz that’s what I do’, but more sticking in a couple of gardening tips, or self defense moves. I think that’s what makes things a bit more interesting – I love learning odd bits and bobs like that.

  2. Reply

    I don’t think the sense of writing who you know into your work has to be exact freckle for freckle. I think sometimes we capture the essence of those we love and maybe dislike in our fictional characters. That’s what I do anyway. It helps me create better likeable people. I wouldn’t worry either about others hating you. We all have those champions and those enemies no matter what we do. Happy writing 🙂

  3. Reply

    I based the main character of my current project off of several different people I know or have known. At some point, though, the character took on a life of her own. At this point, I doubt anyone would be able to connect her to the people who originally inspired her.

  4. Reply

    You are spot on about the hobby. Some things just are too interesting to NOT put into a novel. Me, it’s my migraines. Every novel has a sufferer.

  5. Reply

    I literally pour my emotions into a story, but they get filtered, I suppose, so it’s often hard to see where I end and the book starts a few months down the line.

    I will say, though, I totally get what you mean by being an audience person. I love performing for that reason. 🙂

  6. Reply

    I use my emotion but of course, they are filtered and put through pretend, so really although it is my emotional knowledge it is not me but helps me to create empathy.

  7. Reply

    Yeah, putting someone into a story or blog without giving them some kind of protective “covering” wouldn’t be very nice. Unless it’s a public figure. Then they’re fair game.

    • Reply

      I do my best to keep public figures OUT of my books. Mostly, they’re what I write to get away from, anyway.

    • Reply

      I mention writer friends from time to time and give them a link to their website, but in a very open way. They need to be someone who will benefit from the publicity, in a positive story.

  8. Reply

    It’s amazing how many of your friends and family “see” themselves in your characters. You don’t want to hurt their feelings by saying “Ummmmm, no!” Of course, it’s never in the unflattering characters . . . Happy IWSG Day!

  9. Reply

    I agree about the hobbies. I like how you point out that by the time the book is out you may be into something else. That’s so true, with the writing/publication times involved in this craft.

  10. Reply

    There’s probably a little of me in every character. Or maybe a little of what I’d like to think I am in every character.

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