writers / writing

#IWSG–October

writers groupThis post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join. You will also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge that are worth checking out. The first Wednesday of every month, we all post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.

This month’s insecurity – HAVE YOU EVER SLIPPED ANY OF YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION INTO YOUR CHARACTERS, EITHER BY ACCIDENT OR ON PURPOSE?

Well, yes. Under the advice “write what you know”, I often do that. But not too personal because overall, I consider my life far too boring for the excitement of a novel. That’s one of the reasons I write:

to liven up my life.

I do try out some of the personal quirks of my characters. These are theirs, not mine–probably that I’ve stolen from a friend or acquaintance. Here are a few:

  • Eat instant coffee for a faster infusion of energy into your system. One of my two main characters, Dr. Zeke Rowe, former intelligence officer-turned paleoanthropologist, does this when he’s in a hurry. Everyone knows we drink coffee for the energy rush. Zeke simplifies it by eliminating the heating, stirring, and sipping. When he introduced this idea somewhere around page 109 of To Hunt a Sub, I decided to try it. I shouldn’t have. It is the most awful taste I’ve ever put into my mouth, akin to drinking sour milk.

coffee

  • Drink your first cup of coffee in the shower. Zeke does this because he’s a multitasker. He always looks for ways to double up on activities to save time. I like multitasking. I’ve been known to read email while I dry my hair and or brush my teeth, so this, too, I tried it. Too often, I dripped shampoo or soap into the cup, which doesn’t taste good.

  • Wear a sign to warn those around you about your shortcomings or moods. One of my characters threatened this but didn’t do it. I haven’t tried it yet.

There are a few more here.

Now I’m off to see what my fellow #IWSG efriends have to say about this topic!

More IWSG articles:

None of My Marketing Seems to Work

Beta Reader? Or not?

Should I use my first name or an initial?


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her book at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

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72 thoughts on “#IWSG–October

      • Not sure of the context concerning historical research. My first book will be an account of my early days in a Yorkshire pit village. Perhaps I could share a chapter with you when I’m satisfied. Maybe you could advise me when it comes to seeking a publisher? Keep in touch. Bob T…TrampShining is my favourite nom de plume!

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          • Junior reporter was me…suppose you realised that. Blog you tomorrow about Bonzo Dog and Douglas Bader, and the Tremeloes, and Prince Philip, who I ‘lost’ when covering an official visit. Elsie Tanner wouldn’t tell me whether she was going to wed Alan Howard, I think his name is, and Geoff Boycott insinuated I was trying to make a fool of him (as IF!!!). Oh, and Lord Robens never made a Ministerial position coz (he told me, over lunch!!!) Harold Wilson didn’t like ‘im. Also local GP Christian name Dallas tipped me the wink he was sleeping with his women patients. Strewth, I’ll have to dry up,,,,it’s midnight).
            Bob T.

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    • My face is quite direct, I believe, especially my eyes, blue, intensely so now I’ve taken to wearing contact lenses. A journalist for forty years, I retain the inclination to look people straight in the eye. Interviewees are therefore involved in the conversation straight away. You need fewer words to convey your meaning. Also, when writing I see each situation in my minds eye, making it dramatic in the real sense of the word (you are there), which can hurt.

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  1. OMG, eating spoonfuls of instant coffee sounds like something my students might do on a dare, on video, to be posted on YouTube. A great character detail, though. Confession, I’ve actually done the coffee in the shower thing. It was a while ago. I don’t remember why I did it. I wouldn’t want the T-shirt advertising my shortcomings, though. I prefer to leave a little mystery for folks around me. Plus, I doubt companies would be willing to use the microscopic font-size it would require. Thanks for the post, and happy IWSG day! 🙂

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  2. That coffee habit of Zeke’s sure did have an impact on me mainly because of what it said about Zeke’s character and my response to reading it – so simple and yet so effective – ugh! I think I get more of an idea of your character from Kali and Otto – am I warm????

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    • i like that–what would Lola do? I found myself at my doctor’s office telling the nurse I was there to see Dr. Sun–who, of course, is a character in my book and not in real life. Yikes!

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  3. Have you thought about those quirks that are a part of a person’s personality rather than habits that one develops? Examples from people I know: One who always spins a rubber band or pencil in her hands, a kind of nervous energy. One who walks while they eat, too much energy to sit. One who drums fingers to accentuate every spoken comment. The person who startles at loud but ordinary noises. (You know this one.) I think it’s good to individualize our characters but they should come from the core of who that person is. As you do with Zeke.

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  4. Hi Jacqui … I have to admit I sometimes walk into a room and say I’m having a bad day – but I’ll be ok now … that sort of breaks the ice. Not sure I’d like to try to many quirks and tricks of anyone I’d write about – I can imagine it well enough … cheers Hilary

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  5. I’ve been told I don’t need to wear a sign when I’m in a mood…it’s felt the moment people see me! Or so my husband says!😀😀 Some events or similarities from my life definitely slip into my characters but I then like trying to extend than, heightening that feature. Interesting post, Jacqui that leaves me pondering! 😀

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  6. Good morning Jacqui and have a lovely day – without soap in your coffee. Multi tasking can be taken too far…..😊🌻. As to writing, don’t we all bring some of ourselves into it; one way or another? What do you think.
    Miriam 💕🦋 .

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