Thursday, December 15, 2011

Putting Yourself in the Story

Hey all,

I've been writing so much lately that I feel like a bit of a hermit. The holiday season has literally snuck up on me. Perhaps it's best that way, however. For when I find myself at a stop, I suddenly have the time to realize that my book will be out in about six weeks. Holy hell.

My book, my baby, is going to be out in full view of the world. Gulp.

I'll be the first to admit that it might be a twee bit petulant to be freaking out about one's book releasing. In the scheme of things this is a writer's dream. It ought to be a very good thing. But it also means that *I* will be out on full view of the world.

Because I am most definitely in that book.

We writers often use the excuse that this business isn't personal. Rejection isn't about us. The person simply didn't like our style, or the story. This is true. But it is also true that as writers we pour our hearts and souls into our work. We are there, lurking between the lines, on every page.

We ought to be anyway. Without putting ourselves, and by ourselves, I mean our passion, into every word. Without it, the reader can always tell that something is missing. If you don't love your story, how will anyone else?

And there is also the fact that I am in my characters. To be precise, my characters are NOT me. However, I cannot write a good character without using my experiences in life to give them depth. This is what they mean by writing what you know -or it ought to be, at any rate!

You may not have experienced the high thrill stakes of that fight scene you're writing, but you know what it is like to be afraid, to feel rage, loneliness, or joy.

For me, I write characters who feel ostracized and alone because I have most definitely felt that way before. And I write about characters falling in love, finding their inner-strength, and finding their joy, because I have felt that too.

So look at your own writing. Do you see yourself in it? You should. Don't be afraid to put your heart, soul, and experience in your story and characters. We write to share something with the world. Our stories might be profound, or they might be light-hearted. But they should all have something to say.


  1. LOL! As if my MC *isn't* me--retired history teacher who is childless...The main difference is, she is a widow and I most certainly am not! Add the fact that I'm not a foster/adoptive mom. That said, I have to admit that Laura Grace has my sensiblities, desires, and deep need to help.

    Kristen, I can't wait to read your baby! I'll be gentle. ; )

  2. I do, oh I do. I finished ALL my edits today and querying starts in January.
    And I'm n e r v o u s...

    So excited for you, Kristen!

  3. Totally normal, from all I gather, to be freaking out right about now. :)

    I never would have thought fiction was soul-baring until I'd written a few novels and found similar themes cropping up from book to book, seemingly without my say-so.

  4. I've heard writers say that we shouldn't be defined by our writing, but why not? It flows from the deepest parts of our inner selves, after all. Congrats on your book!
    Write1Sub1 RELOADED

  5. Even when I'm not writing about me, "me" comes through to a certain degree. It just can't be helped.