IWSG · Writing

Do You Use Personal Information in Your Stories?

It’s the start of another month, so it’s time once again for a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG), a blog hop to share and encourage other writers.

When it comes to writing stories, we tend to put a little bit of ourselves in our characters as well as certain situations. For example, at some point in our lives we have all experienced love, anger, happiness and pain. These things we can write about and readers can relate to such emotions. There can be other events and emotions we have experienced that can make such a profound effect upon us that whether consciously or unconsciously, can turn up within our own stories.

One of my stories in particular is based upon a situation that took place during my teenage years and all these years later, I still feel the need to write about it. In fact, this particular novel has been written, but is currently undergoing extensive re-writes (be it ever so slowly). The event is used as the trigger for a bigger plot, but it helps my main character evolve and help her find her own path to redeeming herself.

My characters can sometimes be a part of me, which can cause problems as I’m too close; however if we put too much of other people we know into our fictional characters, we could end up in all sorts of trouble. The novel that I am currently re-writing may have originated from a personal experience, yet I don’t want the main character to become a mirror image of myself; adding some quirks and putting her into some difficult situations creates distance for myself as a writer and makes the character less ‘Mary Sue’. It’s a matter of mixing things up and finding that right balance.

Writing is the way I express myself; I’m more comfortable expressing my thoughts and feelings in written form rather than in the spoken word. This is why I am a writer. I believe that writing what we are passionate about makes for better writing. Anything I feel strongly about will show up in my writing one way or another, and that includes personal situations; for example, hurt feelings can manifest themselves into stories that involve revenge (Warning: I have a tendency to ‘bleed upon the page’ so that I can do away with you as a character). 😉

Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters or stories, either by accident or purpose? Do you find that writing what you are passionate about makes for better writing? Have you found a common theme in your stories? How do you create distance with some of your characters/stories?

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Image courtesy of Pixabay

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22 thoughts on “Do You Use Personal Information in Your Stories?

  1. I love your memes – especially the ‘burn book’ one. Writing things out can be so helpful 😉

    1. Thanks Angela. I think it’s good to go over some of our earlier writing when it involves something personal. Sometimes our emotions are so ‘raw’, it can feel like ‘wow, did I write that?’ It can be a good training ground for future projects. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  2. I haven’t written a story about anything close to my life–yet. Maybe someday. For now, my imagination is still running wild, coming up with stuff that has absolutely no relation to my history. That’s fine with me.

    1. Hi Tamara. I love it when the imagination runs wild! Only problem is which story to run with first. 😉 Thanks for stopping by – it’s good to meet you.

  3. If we’re going to put real people in our work then I can see there are ways it’s beter if it’s us and not anyone who might be unhappy with that situation.

    1. Hi Patsy. Because a real event sparked the idea for a story, I’m finding it difficult to separate the ‘real’ people from the ‘fictional’ ones, but I’m getting there. When the plot becomes more fictional, then I think it helps. Thanks for stopping by – it’s good to meet you. 🙂

    1. Hi Anna. Writing can be very therapeutic. I’m glad it’s helping and has lead to your fiction writing. Keep it up! 🙂

  4. I had to laugh about the Scorpio quote, I am also a scorpio and while I don’t put a ton of stock in the signs, holding grudges and getting even is definitely a trait I struggle to move beyond~

    Here is my October IWSG post

    1. Hi Stephanie. Good to meet another Scorpio! Astrology can be rubbish at times, but sometimes certain things it does get right. Like Scorpios holding grudges! 😉 Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I think a lot of my characters start off as variations on myself but smarter or stronger or just more horrible, but eventually they take on a life of their own. I think you’re right in it being a good way to create emotional distance.

    1. Hi David. I agree with what you say. That’s one of the good things about writing fiction – we are the puppet masters. 😉

    1. Hi Susan. I agree. What I can’t get away with in real life, I do with my writing. Good to meet another Scorpio! 🙂

  6. Like you, I’m more comfortable expressing my thoughts and feelings in written form.
    Actually, I don’t do the impromptu speaking thinggie… I just freeze.
    It’s a known fact that digging deep, and writing with passion, results in stronger and more authentic writing.

    1. Hi Michelle. I know what you mean about speaking; I also tend to freeze or fumble my words so that I end up sounding like an idiot. I even have a hard time reading my writing aloud in a group scenario! I guess it’s something I might have to get used to one day, but not just yet. 😉

  7. “Writing is the way I express myself.” Yes, yes, yes! While I have no problem being comfortable expressing myself verbally, I’m far less articulate that way as opposed to when I write. Thank you for the post, and happy writing to you! 🙂

    1. Hi Kathy. While I’m getting better at talking to complete strangers, writing is my ‘safety zone’. Even though it’s not always easy, it is my preferred option. Welcome to the group and thanks for stopping by! 🙂

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