Do we write ourselves into our stories? I sometimes find myself in my own stories, whether I mean to write that way, or not. Don’t we use our own life experiences to bring depth and emotion to our characters? How much of our past is being exposed and analyzed through our characters and their issues?
I discovered the power of that sort of writing with my very first book. I had come out as queer a few years before, and funny how my main female character was having all kinds of sexual awakenings. Her longing and emotions were plumbed directly from my own. I got so turned on while writing some of those early sex scenes, there were times I had to step away and just go get some air, LOL.
While writing the second book, my relationship with my girlfriend ended, and my grief and hurt also made it’s way into the story. I channeled the intense pain of that breakup through the characters, using it as a kind of catharsis that allowed me to heal while I poured out my pain through the story.
Do you ever develop favorite characters, and then wonder why you like them so much? I’ve got a character I’ve been writing into my dragon stories for years. She has insisted on showing up for every book and I’ve had to oblige her. Each book, she tells me to look closer, to see our similarities. She’s clamoring for her own story, but I keep telling her, not yet. Not quite ready to go there.
What about our own personal values, and the way we tend to view life in general? Doesn’t that also trickle in, maybe unknowingly? I’ve had to grapple with the fact that I just can’t write murder and gross violence. I’d be a terrible murder mystery writer. I’m a paranormal romance author who has the worst time writing violent ‘bad guys’. Or, girls. Explicit, blood-spattered scenes are just not my forte. I’ve done some fight scenes, but I’ve never had modern weapons of destruction in my books. I’ve been an avowed pacifist since way back, and raised my two sons without allowing any play guns, or war toys. These values follow me into my stories in ways I find difficult to resist.
Recently, my son accepted a new position at a university back east. He’s going there first to get himself set up, and then he’s flying back to Seattle for only one reason. To pick up his beloved cat and bring him home to the new place. Not only that, he booked a first class plane ticket, just so the cat can have more space and be more comfortable. I’m sure one of these days that delightful bit will make it’s way into one of my stories. As a matter of fact, in the book I’m currently writing, there just happens to be a very adorable cat named Charlie, who’s going to play a surprisingly pivotal role. Wonder where I got that idea?
Happy writing! May your muse ever flow.