Wednesday, October 4, 2017

IWSG: Is that me?

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

It's the first Wednesday of the month, and that means IWSG time!
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!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

Be sure to drop in on our awesome co-hosts for October:  Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Jennifer Hawes, and Tamara Narayan!

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

I'm not 100% sure what's meant here by personal information--I certainly haven't given a character my address and phone number. But are there bits of me in my characters? That's a whole other question. 

The simple answer is "yes, of course." JJ MacGregor has my red hair, though it's not as red as mine, and hers frizzes. More to the point, anyone who knows me can see some of my personality in both Big Al (of the Ninja Librarian) and in JJ MacGregor (of the Pismawallops PTA books). In fact, there is probably more of me there than is good, or than I want. 

But while my friends and family may exclaim that they totally see me in the characters, it's less clear to me, because the characters are themselves. Maybe it's something like the way you can see yourself in your children. "Oh, wow," you say. "My kid sounds exactly like me when he talks about math!" Or she has your nose, or your hair. But you also look at the kid and you see a unique person, someone whose thoughts and decisions are not all like yours. That's the way I feel about my characters. I'm certainly not JJ, and while I share Big Al's preference for dungarees over skirts, she is truly her own person, and not really so much like me.

Sneakier are the parts of me that are in other characters. I am in the Ninja Librarian, and in JJ's friend Kitty, and maybe even in Ron Karlson (and no, I'm not going to tell you the parts of me I see in them). I hope I'm not in any of the nastier characters, but I suppose a good look would find something of me, because we can't write a character unless we can imagine that person.

But the only place I have deliberately put something of myself into a book is when I had the local librarian on Pismawallops Island reading The Ninja Librarian.


In other news: 
I won't be participating in NaNoWriMo this year. Since I've been pathetic at trying to finish the revisions of my 2015 novel, I haven't even started revisions (major rewrite, more like) on my 2016 NaNo novel. So no way do I get to start another project. Though once I get Death By Adverb (the Pismawallops PTA murders #3) under control, I've no doubt I'll plan and draft another novel before I tackle beating Gorg's book into shape. I'm also trying to spend a little more time on short fiction, and working on finding the right places to submit some of it. As a result, I may also be doing fewer book reviews, or re-running some of the reviews of books I think could use more attention, just to spare myself a bit of time.

16 comments:

  1. Too bad about NaNo! I'm busy prepping - re-working a project from a previous NaNo. I've also put one down one project to pick up this one. It's crazy in my brain. :)

    Good luck with the short fiction!

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    1. I've no one to blame but myself, since I absolutely should have had Death By Adverb ready to go for summer, let alone done before NaNo. But like I say, I'm reaching the point when I can turn anytime into a NaNo like composition-fest, now that I know how to do it.

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  2. I put friends and family's name in my stories. They're usually minor characters that are just named in passing. Had a friend on FB post one day about tagging a book with your name in it and she said that was impossible for her because her name was unique. Which it was, but also a name I liked, so it ended up in one of my books and I snapped a picture and tagged her. made her day.

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    1. I'll freely admit that the Ninja Librarian is physically a match for the gentleman who used to be head librarian where I work. He was tickled pink to be in the book, having figured he'd never be written about, not being an astronaut or anything. I even borrowed his name. But to the best of my knowledge, the real Tom doesn't have any Ninja powers :D

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  3. I think friends and family would be happy to see bits of you in your characters or their own positive qualities.... it’s when they start to see themselves not acting so great that they get twitchy. Of course, I wouldn’t know this personally....

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    1. I always figure that anyone who sees themselves in one of my villains...well, they'd know, wouldn't they?

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  4. I unfortunately find myself in my less nice characters all the time. On the other hand, it's how I get out my negative feelings in a productive way. :-)

    IWSG October

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    1. Hey, whatever it takes to stay out of prison!

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  5. Don't beat yourself up about not getting the editing done quickly enough. We creative types want to create, not edit!

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    1. Apparently. Though I seem less reluctant to tell others what to do with their MSS! (Of course, that's easier than actually *doing* it).

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  6. Ooh! Revisions are hard. Some people like them, but I find them very time consuming. So go with the flow and let the revisions take the time they need.

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    1. It's being a little consistent at the work that's needed if there's to be a flow. It's starting to happen, so I have faith I'll get there.

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  7. Of course there are traces of us in our characters. Not phone numbers or hair colors but the worldview, the basic values. On a smaller scale: if you like ice cream, I bet at least one of your characters likes it too, but if you don't, you would hardly write someone who does.

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    1. Ah...there is JJ's penchant for lattes and espresso brownies :) I let her indulge a lot more than I get to, though!

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  8. Feel free to work on an existing project or your revisions for NaNo. I think writers should make the event work for them. Who's to know it isn't a new book? You can still use it to motivate you, if it does.

    Thanks for the kind words on my post, Rebecca. Means a lot to me.

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    1. I'm not sure I get a lot out of NaNo save the word count, to be honest. I want to learn to work more steadily, in any case.

      Glad my words help. That's what IWSG is about, right?

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