It’s the first Wednesday in October, which means it’s IWSG day! Visit their site! Use the hashtag #IWSG. Write up a storm. Tweet all the things. Dive into that second draft. Embrace your full-on neurotic tendencies, because the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is here for you.
The optional question for October is: Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?
The ISWG newsletter challenged us to include a picture of ourselves with their logo or swag this month too. I’m not sure if they tied that in to the “personal” question on purpose, or if it’s just a happy accident. Either way, here is my IWSG photo. I guess we could call this my alter-ego, Should-be-editing-but-reading-comics-instead-Girl.
To answer the question: Yes. Yes to everything. Every one of my characters gets something from me intentionally. Usually something small, like their favorite color. The way I picture my characters they are distinct, whole people. A lot of them is not like me at all. But I want them to have something real, something another person would empathize with, a reason I would want to be their friend in real life. It’s writing what I know, in a way.
Accidentally, I’m sure a lot of my world view, beliefs, and culture are bleeding into my characters. I try to watch for that and edit it, but I know it squeaks through. There’s been a lot of focus on diversity in books lately and that’s a good thing. (We Need Diverse Books.org has been super helpful, and The Ripped Bodice just came out with this report on the state of diversity in Romance publishing. Spoiler alert: not many authors have a skin color other than white right now.)
It has also made me aware of how hard I need to work to make sure my books are reflecting the diverse reality we live in. It seems like a minefield sometimes, especially when the conversation gets into authenticity and appropriation. So I’m just trying my best to research, never assume, and remember that not everyone in my books should come from a background like mine.
How about you? What parts of your character come from your reality?