Wednesday, October 4, 2017

IWSG October




It is the first Wednesday in October, which means it's time for IWSG DayThe awesome co-hosts for the October 4 posting of the IWSG are Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Jennifer Hawes, and Tamara Narayan!

What insecurities do I have this month? Well, I have one project I'm losing interest in, but trying to persevere and finish. I have another project idea bearing ideas for a series and characters and plot.

Which brings me around to this month's IWSG question:

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

I remember my theater major friends in college talking about how they had to "find their way in" to a character. The longer I write, the more characters I come up with, the more I realize that I, too, need to find my way in to a character, even if our circumstances are utterly different. 

For my historical characters, the personal information we share isn't very personal at all, if we indeed share anything in common. 

For the few contemporary characters I've written to completion, the problem is usually that we have too much in common. I'm generally more comfortable in historicals because the time period and such dictates that my characters and I are very different people. In contemporaries, I've had a harder time not making the characters into fictionalized versions of myself or friends, which is really annoying. I don't even do it on purpose. It's just mostly turned out that way. 

But I guess there's always a little something in my characters of myself: a particular point of view, a dry sense of humor, an emotional reaction, cultural similarities. They're more intangible and only people who know me really well would be able to read one of those and realize that that's from me and not the character; or they may not know that that little bit of information is from me at all.

So, of course, the new project series idea is a contemporary and I am determined to make sure that a) these stories are outlined because I'm tired of this mid-manuscript confusion and b) I want to develop my characters as people on their own.

The upside of contemporary? Not having to dive into tons of research. I can watch YouTube videos as research. Oh, my God, I'm so excited!

28 comments:

  1. LOL! That's my kind of research! ^_^

    It's been a long time since I purposely inserted something from the real world, but little things about me rub off on my characters for sure. There's a reason we all work so well together. When I was writing straight up contemporary, my friends actually wanted me to put them in my stories. Once I went back to paranormal, it was, "Don't put me in your book, I don't want you to feed me to vampire!" Haha.

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    1. YouTube, Twitter, a couple of websites and forums...not a dusty old out-of-print book in sight. SO excited!

      ...But I gotta finish the other thing first. Right?

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  2. Sounds like the sort of research info sometimes :)

    I put in emotions in my stories, but not too many facts.

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    1. Emotions are important. Facts are important, too, at least in historicals. But they need to be weaved in with the characters.

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  3. I have to "find my way" into a character too, so your reference to your theater friends in college really resonated, Michelle. I found your comparison of character writing in contemporary and historical stories informative and interesting. Happy writing in October!

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  4. I imagine we all find elements of ourselves in our characters (and vice versa.) After all, we live in these heads! Interesting viewpoint on it happening less in your historical works.

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    1. There are more things distancing my historical characters from me--and I'm well aware that my existence two hundred years ago would've been so improbable as to be impossible.

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  5. When it comes to research I'm doing something similar. I've been watching a lot of music videos, television and film for my stories. Well, at least that's my excuse. ;)

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    1. It's great when the research is, as my friend said, more like "research."

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  6. I think it's impossible to write a main character which doesn't have anything from us, simply because they are born in our minds. Youtube is fantastic research! Lol! At least, I keep telling myself that to push back guilt.

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  7. Finding your way to a character makes sense. It takes time to get to your a person, whether they're real or imagined.

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    1. Oh, definitely. Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. You should be excited. New projects are always wide open to everything new and sparkly. Enjoy. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. Aren't they just? I'm writing down some character bios today on the new idea.

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  9. I like that phrase 'finding your way into a character'. That sounds like an excellent way to describe it, no matter how much of yourself makes up that character's personality.

    Best of luck with your new project. Gotta love that YouTube research!

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    1. I like the phrase, too. There's a lot that writing and acting sort of have in common.

      Thank you!

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  10. That's an interesting point that writing historicals and contemporary characters are approached differently. I wonder if the same could be said for fantasy.

    Here is my October IWSG post

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    1. Hmm. I've never written fantasy, so I'm not sure--there must be a different approach though, in some way.

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  11. When I first started writing, a lot of myself was in my stories and characters. Not so much now, but it's still there and a lot more subtle.

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  12. See, I'm never sure if I exude my characters' personality traits, or if they exude mine. I often feel like I'm channeling a character if I'm being bossy, or air-headed, or downright stubborn.

    And hey! I totally just read your story in Full Dark and had to smile at the pronunciation bit with the character's name, since that's my daughter's name. :)

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    1. Good point--sometimes I think I take on certain traits when I'm in deep with a character.

      I think we talked about it being daughter's name on a past blog post somewhere, probably when I mentioned the story, having just written it.

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  13. Digging deep into the character fleshes her out and hopefully not my clone. Little traits or quirks of mine will creep in, but not the whole person.

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  14. Your historical characters are interesting!
    Good luck with the new project series!

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  15. That's an interesting angle to think about having to find your way into a character to make them more interesting and complex. There's probably something to that being in some ways easier when the character is very different and you have to work harder to get there. Never thought about it that way.
    Anne from annehiga.com

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Thank you so much for your comments and thoughts. Check back soon. I reply to all comments. Happy reading!