Before you think I’m going to trip you up on some convoluted riddle (you know, my brother’s uncle’s sister’s aunt’s mom is the relative of my monkey’s uncle – what?) I’ll tell you what the title of this post is all about. I’ve included a mother-in-law in my women’s fiction novel (under agent review). She’s pernickety and particular. I thoroughly enjoyed writing about her obsession with having to close all drawers and cabinets before she’s able to fall asleep.
Get this: the other night I’m in my bed and something is niggling at me. I get up and go over to my cherry stained dresser. Some t-shirts were peeking out of a few drawers. I tucked them back in and closed the drawers, feeling satisfied I could go to sleep. Yikes: The Mother-In-Law Was ME! As you’re reading this, you can probably guess that wasn’t as dramatic of a surprise to me as I just made it out to be. However, isn’t that one of the best parts about writing—drawing out bits and pieces of yourself and adapting them into your characters appropriately?
One of my favorite quotes on writing is from Stephen King’s, On Writing. He writes, “I think you will find that, if you continue to write fiction, every character you create is partly you.” I’d love to learn your thoughts on this – do you agree? Disagree?
As a side, my mother tells me all the time she thinks I’d make a good counselor because of my fascination in people, my empathy and my longing to help others. I try to explain to her that there is so much psychology in writing. Sometimes, instead of calling myself a writer, I wish I could say, “I’m a student of people. I study people. I’m a connoisseur of humans.” Okay, I had a little too much fun with that. Anyway, I believe to write well you need to have a firm grasp on people. You need to know typical behavioral responses, psychological reasoning, defense mechanisms, etc. These things aren’t difficult to discover or learn about. In my case, with the mother-in-law, I just looked inward.
But isn’t studying people fun? Isn’t it part of the enigmatic lure and seduction of writing?
Writers: Do you believe every character you create is partly you?
Readers: Are you able to find some way to identify with every character you read about?
*photo by flickr
*photo by flickr