Wednesday, October 4, 2017

No I have not slipped any personal information into my characters either accidental or otherwise.

Today is the first Wednesday in October, not to be confused with the first Monday in October (a designation reserved for the new term of the SCOTUS). This means that it's time for a new Insecure Writer's Support Group post. The website for the IWSG is located HERE, and it's a great way to start making friends in the writer community. In fact, I can't really recommend beginning anywhere else so yeah...if you write...start there first.

This month's question from the desk of the IWSG is as follows:

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

Unfortunately no. I can say that 100% of everything I've written about, scene-wise and action-wise, is completely made-up. I wish that I led an interesting enough life (even in small snippets) to include in my stories but the fact is that it's just not true (for me at least).

And maybe there's a lesson in this question: in order for you to be a great writer, you should strive to live an interesting life because it will improve your writing. Makes sense, right? Ernest Hemingway was an ambulance driver in World War I, a bull runner, and a heavy drinker all of his life. He married four different women, was almost killed in two plane crashes, and went on safaris in Africa.

Oscar Wilde dared to be a promiscuous homosexual in the puritanical Victorian era. He was in and out of courts on scandalous accusations, sentenced to hard labor, and was publicly humiliated. And of course he drank absinthe. All the great writers did.

Mark Twain was a gold prospector, steamboat pilot, journalist, lecturer, served in the American Civil War and was friends with Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison. He died one day after Halley's Comet came closest to Earth, as he had predicted.

Anyway, history is replete with examples of great writers living vibrant, fulfilling lives. It doesn't wax poetic about the schmuck that is middle class and works a 9-5.

So maybe the IWSG is trying to tell us all something this month: live a life that makes you want to slip personal information into your characters. I suppose you can take that to the bank.


  1. Well I'm about in the same boat as you. I have lived in a couple foreign countries and lived and traveled across America, but most of my life is really average.

    1. I find comfort in our solidarity! Hah. Thanks for making me feel better about my average life, Alex :).

  2. I don't do that a lot but sometimes. I know authors who do that more, like a lot of John Irving characters are into wrestling and go to Vienna because he did. Or I guess like how every Stephen King character is a writer.

  3. You forgot to say that Twain and Tesla traveled around in Tesla's time machine.

  4. Yeah, I haven't really ever gone anywhere or done anything noteworthy. Maybe that's why I have to write fantasy?

  5. Ha! I've never slipped my personal information either.
    Made up stuff is way more fun. Most of us haven't lived such exciting and adventurous lives like Twain or Wilde. Maybe we should be living it up more?

  6. I live in Mark Twain's boyhood hometown! He made up some awesome stories. Love his humor.

  7. There's nothing wrong with living an ordinary life. Plenty of writers did. Just not the ones you listed ;)

  8. I've travelled the world, a LOT, but most of my characters still were born in and live in my hometown (which I wasn't born in myself...). ;)

    But yes, my life is pretty 'sedate'. Doesn't mean my characters' lives have to be.

  9. If anything, it's good to get away from the writing and do something different once in a while.