Are You Your Character?

An interesting turn of thoughts this evening. Maybe upon sharing and reflection you can give me your thoughts.

As I have blah blah-ed many times, I have written several novels. One set of three, and another set of two. I have finally polished the first one enough to say it is done. Now I am giving it to my family and friends to read.

They are what I call female fantasy fiction books. They all have something to do with a middle-aged woman finding her way through a totally “alien” surrounding.

Is this character me? 

I believe we put a little of ourselves in everything we write. Either we are that main character or the exact opposite of that character. Or a combination of that character and someone else. Or that character is a combination of people we know. No character is 100% made up.

My husband is not taken by my stories and novels, mostly because every chapter he reads he says, “that’s so you!” He likes the writing and the places and the ideas, but he sees me on every page. A friend of mine who is reading it also teases of an early chapter relationship reflecting his own family. They see “me” and “us” instead of “just some couple.”

Do you think these reactions are because these people are too close to me to be unbiased readers? Do you think the things you write can be taken at plain face value rather than linked in one form or another to the author?

When I read poetry from those blogs I follow, although I don’t know the author personally, I can tell when they are writing about themselves. I believe that is on purpose.(Ivor? Walt? Dwight?) Their writing is an extension of who they are, what they are feeling. And I love that.

On the other hand, I want my stories to be about “some” middle-aged woman. A woman who makes decisions I wouldn’t make, does things I wouldn’t do. ~I~ know this character is, in some ways, a form of me, but I don’t want my reader to see me when reading.

Writing is a different art from painting or sculpture. In many other forms of art your goal is to express yourself. To give your version of a thought, an idea. Your interpretation. Your story. In writing, it may be your idea, but it’s really supposed to be someone else’s story. Not yours.

Maybe I should try writing a story with a main character that’s a man. Or a child. Or a foreigner. Or a dog. Using their difference to become a different person. Maybe that’s what’s needed to really be a good writer. To totally abandon who you are and become someone else.

Any thoughts on my direction?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17 thoughts on “Are You Your Character?

  1. My only thought is to study historical women, especially those whose letters have been published, as if you were writing a biography of them. You will become informed about the actions and situations of “other” women. Maybe it will give you a fresh perspective when developing your own characters.

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    1. That is a good idea. It’s hard when your main character is a modern day woman in a unique time and place. You want to give the world around them their own uniqueness, but you can’t help but identify with the woman next door. Thank you.

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  2. That is a very interesting perspective! I think that when writing (even though I’m fairly new to it) we do tend to write ourselves and people we know in. Write now I’m working on a fantasy novel and I’ve written the three main characters based off of my myself and my two best friends. However, that’s only where it started. The girls developed into their own people at some point. One of the supporting characters I found is a lot like me. Afraid of conflict. While the main character is the person I’d like to become. Having said that, I don’t really share with my friends and family. I am in a writing critique group and they give me a pretty unbiased critique of my work. I think that’s the best way to go!

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    1. I think that is how many of us write. You start with yourself or someone you know (good or bad) and work off of that. I always say “I” would not make the decisions my character makes, although I’m sure my upbringing influences the story one way or another. And I think I do need a critique group or outsider to look at my work. My family’s life is MY life, so it’s sometimes hard to separate the two. Thank you for sharing.

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  3. I think you always put something of yourselves in what you write , especially a book. I am not a writer myself but my husband is (as you know) and when I have to proof read his books or articles and even minutes of meetings I do notice it is from him, it shows his character so well, even in the way he built his sentences and the words he uses (we are married for 43 years so I know him).

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    1. That’s the hard part, I think. I know my “style” of writing crosses into things I write for work all the time. I’m sure next time around they’ll say “Claudia wrote that” and “So and So wrote that.” I suppose it’s not so bad having our style recognized — I recognize a lot of famous writers, book to book. I think I need not to be so sensitive to my family and friends reading my stuff and one day just let the public judge for themselves. Thank you so much for sharing.

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      1. I am sthe same with my paintings, I have a problem showing them to my family and friends, not with strangers.

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      2. Isn’t that crazy? I know we both are in that Catch22 thing… outsiders can give us an opinion on our work (an honest one, I hope) precisely because they don’t know us. Yet I’m so proud of what I write that I can’t wait to show family and friends what I spend my spare time doing. You show everyone your photography,though, right? It’s so magical.

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      3. I don’t have a problem showing my photography, flowers are always pretty , my photo’s are quite “normal”.Today people want everything that is not normal, if you know what I mean.

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      4. I do — but I don’t pay attention to the going “thing” anymore. You keep on doing what you specialize in. Everything that goes around comes around, and your form of art will shine with other avant garde things fade.

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    1. You are! Yet I see you and your life in most everything you write. Like I told gwenniesgardenworld, I think the more you write, the more people recognize “your writing.” Which is usually reflected by “your personality.” It’s the direction of the story that matters; how you deal with the surroundings, the other people. People who have known you all your life are bound to see similarities in your writing. But you are really writing for other people, too. Keep your writing style, Ivor!

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      1. Thank you dear Claudia, it’s fascinating to read how others/you, view my writings and recognise my style and understand what I’m writing about, my life’s story and my observations of the environment and my surroundings… I humble appreciate your kind comments Claudia 😊🤗🤗

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