1. carsun1000
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    carsun1000 Active Member

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    How much of You or Now is in your work?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by carsun1000, Sep 8, 2011.

    Hello,

    I like the new website BTW. I was just wondering how much information relating to you or to your current environment or situation is in your work. Which also prompts me to ask: Do you enjoy interjecting your personal life in your work? I used my wife's pregnancy to set the tone for one of my MCs (a pregnant female detective) and it dawned on me that we almost can't escape including ourselves in our works! Do you do the same?
     
  2. NaughtyNick
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    NaughtyNick Member

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    My story is horribly auto-biographical and contemplative, two classic traps that first time authors fall into, but ones which I have failed to avoid.
    Still, if I can see this through and maintain my momentum, I have a decent tale on my hands.
     
  3. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Well, there are some aspects of my life that are in my stories, but I take great care to ensure that my characters have their own lives.

    Now, there are some characters that are just totally, 100% me. Sure interests and apperances are different, but they're me. It just feels odd writing about them, because I feel like I'm writing about myself.
     
  4. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Well, there are some aspects of my life that are in my stories, but I take great care to ensure that my characters have their own lives.

    Now, there are some characters that are just totally, 100% me. Sure interests and apperances are different, but they're me. It just feels odd writing about them, because I feel like I'm writing about myself.
     
  5. carsun1000
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    carsun1000 Active Member

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    My characters carry some of my genes in my work. I think it is hard to stay away from using one as a template of some sort. My next fiction will take place mostly in Iraq with lots of fire fights. And since I served in OIF, I am ready to transfer my experience in the desert to some of my characters.
     
  6. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    In my recently finished first novel the mc has nothing to do with me or my life. only thing we have in common is that I can relate to some of the things they (there are two of them) go through.
     
  7. prettyprettyprettygood
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    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

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    The MC in my story is nothing like me in terms of gender, nationality, background, occupation or the era he lives in.

    I'm finding though that his opinions and behaviour often reflect my own, or how I would react in his situation. This doesn't make me too comfortable (although it does make me laugh), as my MC is at his core an insecure, gossip-hungry snob! So the part of myself that I'm putting into my fiction at the moment seems to be the part I try my best to deny and hide in real life :p
     
  8. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Heh, that's how I do my MCs. Most of them are from different countries (France, UK, etc). I just love doing that because it lets me see the culture of their nation, how they would percieve the world.

    I think only three of my MCs are actually from America/were born in America and the majority of them are either French or British. Hmmm....I wonder if that implies something? :p
     
  9. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    Rather than influencing my characters they often influence me. If it wasn't for my characters' interests I doubt I would have been curious enough to try a number of hobbies. It's kind of like when you meet someone for the first time and they have a hobby that you might never have taken an interest in until hearing their opinion of it. I can actually credit my characters for my social life: I wouldn't have gotten so involved with clubbing or have chosen the same college courses (no, I'm not talking about a creative writing class) if it hadn't been for my characters. In the same way, it's what I learn from exploring my characters interests that help me to understand and portray them better.

    I was living in Glasgow, Scotland from Aug 2010~Mar 2011 and it definitely influenced the setting of the series I'm working on (which I first had the idea for in July '10). The characters lived just one district over from where I was staying so the MC caught the same train as I did into the centre - the trains they use in the south of the city are quite old so I was able to describe them in the two scenes my character spent on trains (Ch 3 and Ch 49). The novel was also set from September~December 2010 so I was able to include local events that took place. I think that little details like that make a difference when establishing setting so it's good to be familiar with the environment if you're setting a story in the modern world. The things I wrote about the city definitely reflect my interests/the places I visited and show my perspective of the area so I don't think it's a bad thing - if it hadn't been for living in Glasgow I doubt I would have even considered writing a novel set there.
     
  10. LucifersAngel
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    LucifersAngel Member

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    Well, I think a little bit of me goes into my works. Mostly my feelings and flaws will be in the characters. Or even the reasons they do things will be the same reasons I have. I don't really use situations of my life though. But I like to write in a "quirky" style and I am quite quirky lol.
     
  11. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    I have found that no matter how much I try not to, my stories always have a bit to do with me somehow, even if they unconsciously in the most vaguest way possible reflect on some deep psychological issue I've been having or something like that.

    And I don't feel there's anything wrong with that. It's wrong, I think, if you allow it to run the story and dictate how everything happens and basically turn the story into a fantasy. Nobody cares about who you like and who you hate, of course.

    One of my main projects right now was once more like a self-indulgent fantasy more than a story; the male main character was really like me, and most of the other characters were based off people I knew back in high school. However, I decided to change things - play around with the personalities, where although character X might be inspired by a friend of mine, I'd change his or her character around to the point where they were unique and stood on their own. Stuff like that.

    My latest story is arguably my most personal, but only from a thematic point of view. I decided to somehow bring back a lot of the nostalgia I had from high school and injected that all into one story. Some of the events in the story are inspired by stuff I went through, but it is not my story - those events have been adapted to the characters' own struggles and the themes of that story. In essence, it is more like taking inspiration, rather than copying, what happened to me in real life.


    Ultimately, I don't find anything wrong in taking inspiration from real life. But don't use that as an excuse to, say, take revenge on that kid you hate or make some kind of adolescent fantasy where everybody realizes how great you are. Stuff like that, I guess.
     
  12. topeka sal
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    topeka sal Senior Member

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    Good question. Interesting to hear what others have to say.

    I'm guilty of writing a number of what are basically "me" characters, and what triggers a story for me is often something that has happened to me, or a setting I've known, a job I've had, etc. I don't see this as necessarily a bad thing, but it sometimes creates problems. For instance, I can find myself stumped because my allegiance gets confused between the fiction and the real, lived event. It's sometimes difficult to, in a way, disavow the real thing/people. I start to worry I'm "getting it wrong" or not "doing justice" to whatever. I have to shake myself out of these kind of thoughts if anything of value is to be written.

    But I think I'll always draw some things from life. It's what I know. And although what you know shouldn't limit your ability to imagine, for me it's a good starting place.
     
  13. synger
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    synger New Member

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    The more I plan my novel, the more parallels I'm finding... MC left college because he totaled his car and had to use tuition money to replace it or lose his job (just like my husband). MC and his wife have fertility problems, and lots of relationship issues (and guilt) because of it (like we did for a time). The exploration of the need for forgiveness and the MC semi-wanting his wife dead and then terrible guilt when she is murdered is straight from some of my worries and fears. The exploration of what "success" means when one character is ambitious and wants money and another is a hard worker but doesn't want to go any further in his job, and the tension that brings between the two of them, is similar to tensions between my DH and his brother.

    So, even though the gender, race, situation, and murder of the story have little to do with me, the conflicts and tensions and the overall dilemma of seeking forgiveness are very much from me.
     
  14. Lothgar
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    Lothgar Contributing Member

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    I tend to draw heavily from my own personal experiences because I try to write what I know. While my research fills in all the background gaps in my stories and settings, the personal experiences of my characters tend to be either "How I would react" in the given situation, or a rewriting of some of my own experiences when I actually was in the given situation. I think it makes my story a little more real when the events actually happened to me (or someone else) and are rewritten into my tale as experiences of my characters.

    It means that a little bit of "me" is every thing I write.
     
  15. Forceflow
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    Forceflow Member

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    My characters are based fairly largely on my friends and family. but theres nothing i can do but hope people dont notice.
     
  16. suddenly BANSHEES
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    suddenly BANSHEES Contributing Member

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    I try to make my characters as unlike me as possible, but only because I'm kind of a terrible person. Still, some aspects of my personality do slip into my characters every now and then, sometimes without me noticing. I guess that happens with most writers, at least to some degree.
     
  17. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    I sometimes wish I was more like my characters when they say something witty or have a snappy comeback that I'd never come up with in a real conversation.
     
  18. tristan.n
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    tristan.n Active Member

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    Eh... My MC is going to get pregnant, be miserable, and die young, so I pray we are nothing alike. lol
     
  19. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    My characters carry bits of me.

    Two of my characters carry my love of chess.

    One carries my habit of making witty and snarky comments.

    A few carry my natural agility.

    And so on.

    It should be noted that some carry almost nothing of me.
     
  20. NaughtyNick
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    NaughtyNick Member

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    What about your natural modesty?
     
  21. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Yeah my MC's carry a lot of me in terms of their opinions about things, their morality and so forth. Sometimes they're a little more who I would wantto be. They're like me in strange situations and with strange backgrounds. But I find it very hard to truly write someone completely different to me since I don't know that person.

    Other characters, the ones I don't have to know the inner workings of, can be much more different. So I have a true psycho in one of my WIP's, cannibal, mass murderer, rapist, god complex, nutter, and he was quite fun to write. But I can't write an internal dialog for him because I simply can't imagine enjoying or wanting to do the things he does.

    Cheers.
     
  22. tristan.n
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    tristan.n Active Member

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    Aw you beat me to it
     
  23. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    There are bits and pieces of me in my characters along with people I'm close to. For the most part they are their own characters.

    I think it's almost impossible not to put pieces of yourself in a story. Especially if it's something you feel strongly about. I draw a lot from my own emotions past and present because I do believe you should write what you know. One of the few benefits of everything I've been through is I've experienced such a broad spectrum of emotions. I know what it's like feel the despair of being close to death, being paralyzed, having your body turn against you. I've felt the kind of joy one can only feel after feeling the sand between your toes when you thought you'd never walk again. I know what it's like to be in love and feel deeply devoted to someone. I know what it's like to be completely rejected by others. I know what it's like to have others be there when I need them the most.

    All the emotions my characters go through are things I have felt at one point or another. It's not always from the same cause but there's only so many emotions one can feel and many circumstances to cause them.
     

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