Sunday, August 21, 2011

Is My Main Character Me?

At what point do we give pieces of ourselves onto our characters?

The other night, my best friend swore that my main character, Etta, is me. Why? Because we both like to wear jeans and we like to eat stew. I don't know if that's enough for a convincing argument, so I decided to examine the similarities the two of us:

1. We both watch a lot of TV.
2. We're both brunettes.
3. Etta's father is a physicist. Mine is a physics teacher.
4. Etta lives in Alexandria, VA. I lived there for 10 years.

Here's where the similarities end:

1. Etta has powers. I don't.
2. Etta is/was an orphan. I'm not.
3. Etta goes to a posh private school. I went to public school in a small town.
4. Etta doesn't care for designer clothes. Even though I love my jeans and sweats, I love my designer dresses and heels.

Maybe we do rub off on our characters a bit. Giving little pieces of ourselves into the characters we've grown to love.

What about you? Do you give your main characters some of your own traits?

On the ROW80 front, I've been working on final edits (yes, still) and formatting. I don't have any set word counts, but I've been working on Book 2. Hey, you keep your goals simple, you have simple updates! But classes start back up on Monday, where I'll turn back into Professor Lefeve for the fall semester, which means limited writing on Monday nights and Saturday mornings. This makes my daily goal of writing a bit harder, since all I want to do is sleep!


  1. I do tend to add attributes of myself and others around me that I love. My MC is the spitting image of my sister, with bits and parts of my off-beat humor. I think it would be hard not to let a little bit of ourselves rub off on the characters we love! Great Post!

  2. I have been thinking about this recently, mainly because my MC keeps crying and I always cry! When I am happy, sad, angry, it seems to be my reaction to everything! The bad thing is it is not something I like about my MC.

    Glad things are going well with your goals. Hope the start of classes goes well!

  3. I've had characters who were very close to me in looks and personality, but I've had others with only a few bits in common. It's an interesting question.

    Best of luck with the coming semester--our students are back on campus, transforming the sleepy summer town to total chaos. Luckily, I don't teach fall semester. Have a great week!


  4. I think bits of us have to be part of the characters we lavish most care on - we need to understand them and who better than a little alter ego - having said that maybe we then blow a little stardust on them to make them individual

  5. My main character is similar to me, but I hope that her personality, her appearance and her circumstances are different enough than mine. She has the same morals and values as me, but I think the rest is different enough...well at least I hope that none of my first readers think she is me.

  6. Interesting looking over my main character, she isn't me, but we share some traits. I have learned recently to let little bits of myself into my writing and to not be so guarded emotionally as I write in an effort to let my writing be a bit more open and less rigid. So maybe that's where I see some similarities, but just a little bit. Though I did have her grow up in the same city I'm from--mainly so didn't have to do a lot of outside research on that part of the book! So, I wouldn't say she is me...but maybe she could be a first cousin?! : D

  7. I think it's hard not to give a little bit of yourself into your characters. So while she might be similar to me, it wasn't intentional!

    Thanks for your comments on the subject!

  8. The more I delve into the psyche of my main character, the more I realize she is "me." Maybe not a surface duplicate, but she and I share the same core.

    Good to see you are having success with ROW80. Final edits are important, because . . they're final. ;)

  9. Achievable goals are a smart thing, so good for you!

    Love your list comparing your personal and character traits. My mother and I wrote a mother-daughter story, so many of our friends are confused... how much of us is in there. It can be such a hard question. Powers help distinguish, though. ;-)

    Hope you are having a good week!

  10. I think the same thing about all of my main characters at one point or another. Each one has a little of me. I just seem to slip in there. :)

    There's also something to be said for writing what you know. I like to fill in some detail from what I already know (like places I have intimate knowledge of), but I also love to expand my horizons exploring a story. That's part of the fun!

    Glad your goals are working for you!


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