Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog: Me, In the Manuscript

First of all, thanks again for all the well-wishes as I continue onward on my trek to pass my recertification boards.

Yes, I am eating chocolate. And yes, I am afraid I have ten new bizarre ailments you probably don't want to know about, thank you very much.

So today I'm up to discuss how I put myself in my writing. This topic was my idea, and I've been sweating over the answer for two weeks because...

I'm ALL OVER, under, sideways, and throughout my stories. Sprinkled in like salt.

My first novel (which is shelved but may someday be reconstituted with better writing and plot work) had an MC that looked like me. Only taller. By one inch.

In my second novel (currently being queried) I decided to truly write a fictional character. In doing so, she ended up with heavy doses of non-Lydia characteristics.

She liked the great outdoors. I do too, but from the other side of a window, sans mosquitos, being gently fanned by indoor A/C.

She likes to shoot guns and eat what she shoots. I like to look at the bunnies and not eat them. No guns involved.

She hates dresses. I kind of like them so long as they expertly camouflage my belly pooch.

The list goes on. She, like the MC in my current WIP-on-hold, possess my likes, dislikes, physical and mental characteristics. Sometimes they're served straight up; sometimes they're with a 180 degree twist. But in one way or another, they are all a part of me.

How deeply embedded are you in your stories?

If you didn't get a chance, check out Laura's post from last week; and stay tuned for more in the coming weeks from Danyelle Leafty and Zoe Courtman!


Liza said...

I put the things I'd like to be in my writing...the way I wish I looked, the things that appeal to me, but not anywhere near who I am.

Bidisha said...

Hmm..I have to say, in my writing I like to get into the shoes of people who are way unlike me in most ways..and similar in the little unsuspecting ones.

Laura Pauling said...

I've been thinking about this but in a slightly different way. I've been thinking about deeper emotional truths about me and the best way to use that in my charactization. Not easy.

Renae said...

I really try to make most of my characters totally different than what I view myself as. Now whether or not this is actually happening remains to be seen!

Erica Mitchell said...

One inch shorter *giggled*
I am guilty of this and it never seems to matter which MC I work with they always have bits of me. I've tried not to do this and my solution was to have a male MC to "learn" and practice making my character different. Surely if they're male they will be unlike me.
BAH! No, my male MC is still a lot like me! *cringe* My female MC actually started to get further away from me as I kept devoloping him. Which I have to say makes me a bit suspect...then again I am ALWAYS around guys being a military wife and the only girl in my family. Maybe thats why?

Maria Zannini said...

Hmm...about the only thing consistently similar between MC and me (so far) is coloring. I like MCs who are people of color--any shade is fine.

The hero can be blond, but I like the heroine to be more dusky.

Francine Howarth said...


I just love playing at being a godess looking down on the world I've created, and then toying with the affections of all, especially the hero! ;)


Zoe C. Courtman said...

*snickers* Love the way you think :D I wonder if it's possible to create a character with none of myself in it...huh.

Karen Lange said...

Some more than others. Need to take another look with this in mind. Thanks for the food for thought:)

Andrea Mack said...

I findi it easy to make characters physically dissimilar to me, but I think emotionally, there's always a part of me in them.

vic caswell said...

one inch taller! that's hilarious! the difference between you two were a pair of heels! (and the fact that one is fictional too, i guess!) :)

DL Hammons said...

My MC in both of my books is a heroic version of myself (and 10 pounds lighter). :)

Anonymous said...

I think you can learn a lot about how someone thinks based on what and how they write. Even if it is fiction. ;)

Melody said...

Wow, I always would say that my characters were obviously NOT me...because they were exactly the OPPOSITE of me. Except, now I realize that's part of me too. Hmmm.

Patti Lacy said...

Oh, bits of pieces are floating in all of the characters. It's just a big gumbo-yaya!

Have missed you at my place!

Hope all's goin' well with the studies!!

Krispy said...

I'm all over my writing too. There are characters who are like exaggerated versions of me and others who are completely and utterly different (like one who thinks scary things are fun, whereas I won't watch a horror movie alone or in the dark). There are also the ones in between.

Continued good luck with your studying! :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I like viewing the great outdoors the same way you do!
Oddly enough, I really didn't place very much of me into any of my characters. No idea why.

Sam Liu said...

I think we sometimes subconsciously allow aspects of ourselves to seep into our writing. Its imperceptible and natural, I suppose; the creator always puts themselves in the creation.

Janet Johnson said...

That's so funny about the 1-inch difference.

My husband tells me that I'm in every single character I write. And he's probably right. Bits of me here and there (isn't that a pretty picture).

Good luck with the recertification!

Danyelle L. said...

Love the salt metaphor! I'm like you. If someone really wanted to get inside my head, all they'd have to do is read my stories. :D

Lindsay said...

Hmm. I'd love to say I'm not in my writing/characters but I am...especially my snark sometimes. :)

Carol Kilgore said...

Sometimes a lot of me shows up in my characters, other times not much at all. I guess it depends on the character.

The Words Crafter said...

Wow, this very concept has been running around in my head for a long time. I'm glad other people find themselves in their characters.

My MC has many of my characteristics, some of my history, and much of my taste in music. She's stronger than I am, though.

Loved the one inch less....funny!

Melissa said...

Good luck on the recertification!

I think that - no matter what anyone says - we are always in our stories, in some way or another. The stories COME from our subconscious and conscious minds. They are a part of us. If that is true, how can we not be a part of them?

It's impossible. We are a part of our stories because our stories are a part of us.

I hope that makes as much sense to you as it does to me.

Abby said...

Once, a character I planned out was me as I would have liked me to be... knowing martial arts and able to throw knives.

notesfromnadir said...

I'm just so relieved that you like to look at bunnies & not shoot them!

Some of my characters are 180s, others are kinda close to home. Depends on what I'm writing.

Also, it can be fun to write about people that are drastically different from you. Makes you learn even more about human nature.

And, yes, I shoot bunnies -- with a camera! :) Will be adding some pictures to my FB page soon.

Char. said...

My characters are somewhat similar, but not too much.
I have a tendency to have 2 main characters, one of them as the type of person I am, another as the type of person I want to become, because those are very different personalities... I consider myself quite weak and, well, "uncool", but I want to be the total opposite, of course!

I also tend to use male main characters for some reason. I dunno, I don't know boys too well, but I just feel like it's "right".

Theresa Milstein said...

I try to borrow my feelings, insecurities, needs when writing a character. But I try not to make my character me.

Good luck with the recertification and the chocolate.

Bathwater said...

I think I am always embedded in there somewhere.

Anonymous said...

My characters are a combination of me, the people I know, and good ole' imagination (I so copied this answer from another blog post that I commented on). When it comes to taking inspiration from myself, I focus on both the good AND the bad characteristics.

Jai Joshi said...

The way I think of it is that there's always a part of us in the stories we create, otherwise we wouldn't have been able to create them. But they're like having kids. A part of you but not you. Their own person with their own quirks and issues. Sometimes I look at a chapter and see myself so clearly. Sometimes I look at a page and wonder where the heck it came from.


Ren- Lady Of The Arts said...

I sometimes try to make my characters have either - exactly like or unlike-characteristics just so it's easier to remember!

Great post.

Kristen Haskell said...

My MCs always have at least a little of me in them. Lately I am wanted to ditch that completely and push myself away from MCs with any of me in them. So far that means that they are men. It is really challenging but isn't all writing and that is what makes it so great.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hey Lydia..hope you are being good and studying hard.

My characters are a lot like me, yet we have our differences. Sometimes I can be accused of putting a little of myself in my characters. Sometimes they are absolutely fictional: all make believe.

Jonene Ficklin said...

The things of yourself that show up in MC are scary sometimes. In my first book, I thought I had written a completely original character. But when my mom read it, she called me up and told me that it was a dead ringer for me. Sigh. Yeah. I like the way you phrased it - sprinkled in like salt - but with a bit of black pepper - and hot sauce.

Unknown said...

There's definitely a little bit of me in my mcs, but less now than with my first book.

Good luck with the boards. :D

Terri Tiffany said...

How do we not put ourselves into our characters??:) I'm there.

Dayana Stockdale said...

I only have one book so far. And my main characters are definitely pieces of me. I think its alright to do this, or to not do this, as long as we don't block ourselves. Sometimes people try to be so different from their MC, that they block the experiences that help them relate to that character.

Anonymous said...

In my first short story, my MC's name is Celine. Now that is me embedded, I'd say. Funny is that I never thought it was until a friend pointed it out. We can get so close to our writing we don't see, like so many other things in life.

Jemi Fraser said...

The biggest connection between me and my MCs is height - we all tend to be short :)

Lola Sharp said...

My characters usually show up to me fully formed...and MUCH different than me.

Good luck on your recert-boards! :)


Unknown said...

One inch shorter *giggled*
I am guilty of this and it never seems to matter which MC I work with they always have bits of me. I've tried not to do this and my solution was to have a male MC to "learn" and practice making my character different. Surely if they're male they will be unlike me.
BAH! No, my male MC is still a lot like me! *cringe* My female MC actually started to get further away from me as I kept devoloping him. Which I have to say makes me a bit suspect...then again I am ALWAYS around guys being a military wife and the only girl in my family. Maybe thats why?

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