The Insecure Writer's Support Group was created by Alex J. Cavanaugh. October's co-hosts are Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Jennifer Hawes, and Tamara Narayan. Find the other IWSG participants here.
October's question: Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose? The simple answer is yes.
I think it goes back to the guideline of "Write what you know." It would be nearly impossible to write without pulling on some sort of emotion, action, etc. that we've experienced in the past, even if we present it in a different way or from a different view. I think experience leads credence to our imagination.
That said, I have purposely written about events that happened to me. The best example is Once upon a December Nightmare from Once upon a Nightmare: A Collection. The main event that sets up the story actually happened to me in December 2002. I played off what occurred and expanded it into a horror story. Yes, even the dead deer were really in that clearing.
My unpublished YA contemporary novel Starred also features true incidents that happened while I participated in musical theater.
And I'm sure I'll find new things to insert into new stories too.
And I'm sure I'll find new things to insert into new stories too.
Don't forget about the IWSG Anthology contest! I had an idea in mind for a story, but I didn't know how to narrow it down to 3500-6000 words and didn't really have the time to write and edit it for the November 1st deadline. Plus, it took kept turning into a horror story in my head. So good news, I have a new horror story to write some day. Bad news, I have no story to submit for the next IWSG Anthology. Oh, well.
What are you insecure about this month?
I formatted a manuscript for a client. I proofread, formatted, and published Spirits in the Water (Elements of Untethered Realms #4). I edited the outlines of A Soul to Reap, A Soul to Keep, and A Soul to Take as well as reached the midway point in my novel Destined. I even found time to update Once upon a Nightmare: A Collection, the ebook and print versions.
I've also been thinking of my old Gravity series, and I have an idea of a new direction to take the characters. Now I don't know when I'll get back to it, but I'm excited about the new starting point.
As for October's goals, they include:
- Continue editing Destined. The third novel in The Fate Challenges series is over 92,000 words so far and will likely be as long as Reborn (around 95,000 words). I hope to be 75-85% finished with this edit by the end of the month.
- Update the print version of People of Foxwick and Their Neighbors with the new map and a few other minor tweaks.
- Write the outline for A Soul to Give (Soul Reaper #4).
And that's it. October is a lighter goals month than the previous ones.
What are your October goals?
2017 Stats: 105,864 words written and 885,566 words edited
BOOK READ AND REVIEWED
SPECULATIVE FICTION BOOKS
RELEASING IN OCTOBER
Spirits in the Water by Untethered Realms’ authors
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
Tool of War by Paolo Bacigalupi
Devils and Thieves by Jennifer Rush
Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield
The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle
Berserker by Emmy Laybourne
Ally by Anna Banks
Never Apart by Romily Bernard
Seize Today by Pintip Dunn
27 Hours by Tristina Wright
Blood in the Water by Angela Roquet
The Uncrossing by Melissa Eastlake
Fairday Morrow and the Talking Library by Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robinson
Strange Weather by Joe Hill
Harry Potter – A History of Magic: The Book of the Exhibition by J.K. Rowling
Cold Spectrum by Craig Schaefer
Hi Cherie, its nice that you are able to incorporate personal incidents into your stories. As I write MG fiction, I can only add a few of my personal traits,values and beliefs into my young characters.
I'm not sure I could do the same. Feelings. I share them all the time mostly for my mental heath. hehehe
Anna from elements of emaginette
I often try to tap into the way something made me feel and relate it to scenes. Great post.
Juneta @ Writer's Gambit
I always have some of myself in my characters too. I agree writing what we know helps make the stories more authentic. Great work with your September goals. Interesting you might go back to the Gravity series. :)
I frequently draw inspiration from my real life. In the past, some of my characters, settings, and events too closely resembled real life, but now I've learnt how to strike the right balance between inspiration and barely-veiled memoir.
You are absolutely incredible at setting and meeting your goals. I wish I could do that better. And your reading is inspirational. I think we all interject at least a little bit of ourselves into our writing, how could we not?
I haven't gone that far in putting bits of myself into a story. I guess my life is too boring. ;)
Good luck with your goals for October.
My protagonists are all sisters under the skin--my sisters, that is. I'd love to be able to bring them all together for a party--that would be a hoot. Story idea?
Excellent idea to set your goals down in writing at the beginning of each month. Me, I just aim for at least two hours of writing and/or a thousand words written, or at least one scene edited. My WIP is chugging along with that approach.
Wonderful post, Cherie. I love all the info. I so agree--who can resist including personal incidents (that don't point back to us) in our books?
I remember Once Upon A Nightmare. *Shivers* We write what we know, including character attributes and experiences.
I'm working on a story for the IWSG Anthology--hope I can have it polished by then. It was a longer story I'd been working on and had to shorten, so we'll see :)
Bummer you won't have a story for the anthology this year. With fewer entries, chances will be better this time.
The dead dear was real? Yuck.
I try to keep up with goals and targets, but I'm far too disorganised to keep it up. Well done for being more disciplined than me!
I've never really had much happen to me that would be interesting enough to put in books, so I always have to settle for putting in the minor stuff. Like my characters having a thing for Joss Whedon shows or loving Harry Potter.
Nicely done on your September goals. Best of luck with October's!
That's it? LOL I know the feeling. Hope we both accomplish all of our goals this month.
The dead deer, huh? I also use some incidents from my life in my fiction. It make the stories alive, because life is really stranger than fiction. Sometimes.
You're right, our experience forms the basis that our imagination can build on. There's always a part of ourselves in our writing. Sounds like you're doing really well on your various projects. Keep going!
Yes, I agree that we almost can't avoid to put ourselves in our writing. With as productive as you are, I can't believe that you had to create anything else to be productive. When I'm struggling, I write a list and that helps me do things that I don't want to do.
Your productivity astounds me. Keep it up. And whooboy about scary experiences turning into horror stories!
Yeah, write what you know seems to sum it up quite well. Some of us do put in that extra though.
My goals for October are to keep working on the giveaway and then really dive into my new WIP.
Hope you accomplish all of yours.
Congratulations on your productivity! Nice that you have a good way of tracking it.
Dead deer, eh? Makes me wonder what the story was about.
So True. I feel it's almost impossible not to put in a little bit of ourselves into our stories. Especially our emotions.
We can tap into our experiences to show the emotions of our characters. Good post.
Hi, Cherie. I see that I have not followed your blog, so I'll do that now and connect with you online.
I think all writers stick in a little of themselves in their writing whether it's a character trait or an experience we've had. This is a great post and I like your blog. All best to you!
Wow! Looks like you accomplished a lot in Sept! I'm trying to be organized so that I can do more in Oct. I do draw from experiences but I change things around a bit.
Still the over-achiever. LOL! Great post!
DB McNicol, author
All the best with all your October goals, Cheri!
Part of Once Upon a December Nightmare was real? Wow.
That's a shame you weren't able to come up with something for the IWSG anthology, but I'm excited to hear it led to a new horror story for you. Absolutely love that genre!
I like your updates. I need to update several of my books. Thanks for the reminder.
I think more of ourselves slip into our stories than we realize. But obviously I use places I've been and things I've experienced. My story in Spirits in the Water has a lot of basis in my last job - the location, and the main characters are based on a conglomerate of people I used to work with.
Awesome on your goals! I finished my first draft and just finished marking up the hard copy of my next novel. Onto the revision! I hope to be done with the revision by end of this month and have part of a short story written.
Bravo with your to do list. So glad the list has helped you stay on track!
As for writing about ourselves in our story- I think little bits of my life show up all the time in my writing. Things that happen to my characters have also happened to me- though I can use a little literary license to change things up a bit. :)
My October goal is to complete one story and submit it. Fingers crossed.
How great that you can draw so much from your own experience. Interesting.
Wow, you've been busy. Great for you.
My dreams and nightmares are just too weird for any kind of story. Maybe I have a brain malfunction.
My October goal is simply to keep writing. I've got a hard deadline on one manuscript I've been working on with my writing partner, so it has to get done in order to get to the editor on time. I tend to keep things simple.
Thanks for sharing little tips about how you stick to your goals. Those tips really help. I have been "off" goal for a bit now and I've been thinking I need a new system for tracking progress. I may try that word document idea, but I also purchased a calendar that's just for my writing goals (no family stuff or doctor appointments allowed on it). I'll see if that works. Or, I'll try both.
Way to go with your work!
I agree that it would be impossible to write without adding something real from our own life experience - and I'm not sure trying to leave out things such as genuine emotions would be a good idea, even if we thought we could do it.
What's up, I read your blogs regularly. Your writing style
is witty, keep doing what you're doing!
I can only add a few of my personal traits,values and beliefs into my young characters.
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