Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Your Character's Character

When you write, do you put snippets of yourself into your book or story? Is that a good idea? Would you give one of your characters aspects of your life or your own viewpoints?

Personally, I think most writers put bits and pieces of themselves into their books. Some do that purposely and some do it without consciously meaning to do so. For example, a lawyer writing a legal thriller puts himself, his knowledge, his experiences in his writing. The same could be said for a doctor writing a medical mystery.

This past Sunday, I spoke at the Heart of Texas Sisters in Crime meeting about this very subject. I chose the topic because I put "pieces" of myself into my latest book, Angel Sometimes. Probably the biggest "chunk" of me in Angel Sometimes was that I gave the protagonist the job of swimming as a mermaid. Partly, I gave her that job because I know it since I swam as a mermaid for three years while I earned my BA and MA. But mostly I did it since it was a job that she could do without having a high school diploma. (Angel was abandoned to the streets when she was twelve.)

Do you write what you know? Or do you create characters totally different from you? Or do you do both?


  1. I do both--characters that have *some* traits I share and characters that are my polar opposites. :) But I think writers who say there's *never* anything of themselves in their characters are probably being disingenuous. :)

  2. What an awesome job! So unique, of course you had to use it. I think I unconsciously give me characters snippets of myself. I think it would be impossible not to.

  3. I think it's unavoidable. There will always be some traits, no matter how minor.
    Perceptions amongst readers vary according to genre too. While readers don't generally accuse Stephen King of being an axe murderer, it amazes me how many romance authors are judged by the sex lives of their characters. Apparently, you can write about murder without "knowing" it, but you can't do the same with kinky sex. ;)


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