I read through some of my chapters in my various novels tonight and, not surprisingly, saw a lot of myself in the characters. That got me to thinking: how many writers admittedly insert themselves into their writing?
I know that as writers we write what we know, that friends and family members, situations and events end up being used in writing, but how many of us admit to it openly?
<Raising my hand.>
In my novel Destiny, the main character, KC, is a big-haired, loud mouthed, Duran Duran loving fifteen-year-old product of the ‘80s, and totally me at that age. I wrote about my summer love (he knows who he is) and what life might have been like had we been able to carry our relationship into adulthood. Cypress Springs, a fictitious name for a real place, is where I spent my summers between my thirteenth and seventeenth years. Anybody who knows me knows which town that was. Sitting in the Dairy Queen parking lot on a Friday night watching the same cars circle the Square really happened when I lived in Georgia as a twenty-year-old.Even in my latest writing obsession, Echo, which is about an illicit teacher-student relationship, I openly admit to adding some of myself into the characters. Tara has my love of literature, alternative rock music, and tall, handsome, hardworking men. Dianne has my motherly instinct and compassionate nature. And Doraleigh, well she has my desire to genuinely connect to a supernatural force beyond myself.
I guess I initially felt weird about admitting that I included so much of myself in my novels, but how else was I going to make it so real? I still won’t name any names, but if you see a little of yourself or your town in my novels and you know me well enough, then, yeah, it’s probably you.