How much of YOU is in the stories you write?

I was asked this question a few days ago by a friend. I really think she was fishing to find out if I’d ever put her in a book, but that’s besides the point. The question has some validity if you go by the old rule, write what you know.

Well, who/what do you know best? Yourself, of course.

But let’s face it: I’m really boring. I do not have a fascinating life and the most exciting thing I’ve done this year was to go to the RWA conference in San Antonio.

So, if I wrote what I knew, all my books would be about psychiatric, ophthalmic nurses. Cute and interesting once or twice, but nothing to build a writing career on.

But back to the question: How much of me is in my stories?

I can truthfully say, not a lot. Sometimes I’ll write a line of dialogue or use a phrase that I know gets a response because I’ve used it in real life. Or in my Cook Book series I refer to some of the recipes that are tried and true in my life.

As far as my female characters, none of them is like me at all. I purposefully make sure of that when I create them. They don’t resemble me in any visceral way and most of them are way, way smarter than me. Their internal beliefs and struggles are not mine, either.

If they do bare any resemblance it is in the fact they are all fighters like I am.

My world views, my politics and even my religion are not factors in what I write. I try to balance the character with the setting and the plot. I’ve never written about a chubby, curly haired, not-too-attractive catholic-raised girl who was abandoned by her father and left with a none-too-stable mother and an evil grandmother. If I tried to write that story it might just be the end of me!

I know conventional writing wisdom dictates that every story has a little of the author in it.

I can truly say the only thing of me in my stories is my name in the credits.

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Filed under Characters, Dialogue, Editors

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