writers / writing

#IWSG July–Personal Traits in My Characters

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 optional question – What personal traits have you written into your character(s)?

Like most writers, I do spice up my story with traits I’m familiar with because I have them. Here are a few:

  • addiction to coffee
  • love of dogs
  • suffering from migraines
  • Energizer Bunny attitude
  • binary choices
  • the 10-second rule (if you drop something and you’re older, you get more time)
  • often have more enthusiasm than expertise (for minor characters)
  • drinking Red Bull
  • loving tech

But, I’ve learned stuff from my characters too, been inspired to try things I didn’t know about until my characters introduced them. Here are a few of those:

  • drink coffee in the shower
  • eat a spoon of instant coffee when I don’t have hot water
  • read Peter O’Brien’s amazing nautical historical series, Aubrey-Maturin
  • use a Mobius Strip to make decisions
  • how life (sometimes) goes better with body armor

Here’s an article with more on what I learned from my characters.

Now, I’m off to check out what pieces of you-all have slipped into your books!

More IWSG articles:

Favorite Genre

The Power of Language

Am I creative?

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, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for TeachHUB and NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, The Quest for Home, Fall 2019. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning

82 thoughts on “#IWSG July–Personal Traits in My Characters

  1. Pingback: #IWSG A Great Place to Write | WordDreams...

  2. Pingback: 10 Tips on How to Know Your Story is Done | WordDreams...

  3. Great list, Jacqui! Love the 10 second rule! And instant coffee “raw”? I can hardly tolerate it dissolved in hot water (no matter what Nescafe says). I think we end up incorporating parts of ourselves in every character, and I never thought about how a character’s quirks could rub off on the writer. I’ll have to pay attention! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ha! I love your 10-second rule! And eating a spoonful of instant coffee cracks me up–makes me curious how someone doesn’t have hot water and won’t wait to get to the nearest Aroma Joe’s or Dunkin’ Donuts…my wheels are turning with that one!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. My ten second rule depends less upon the time involved and a lot more on how much the cats have been plodding around in that area of the floor beforehand. Hmmm, I never thought of picking up traits from my characters before. I’ll have to consider that.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The ten second rule is amazing :’) I have a 0 second rule, if something touches the floor it’s dead to me. I really like the thought of characters teaching us things, and it’s totally true. They’re like our own little social experiments, things we’ve perhaps never thought to do until we know how it works out for them. On a weird side note, dry gravy granules are also nice, I used to sneak them as a child.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oooh, I never heard of dry gravy granules. Are they a snack, or dessert? You know you can’t tell authors anything personal because it’ll end up in their next book??? Well, not my next…


  7. Amusing and inspiring list, Jacqui. I used to drink herbal tea – like my MC’s boss/Detective Inspector – but my wife got me hooked on coffee, which my Goth MC drinks as black as her biking leathers.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A Mobius Strip to make decisions? Wow, how does that work? All the characters in Einstein’s Compass a YA Time Traveler Adventure are based on people I know. My life has had many evil people like the Countess who was based on a worman I worked for. Writing Einstein’s Compass was cathartic as it gave me the opportunity to see to it the evil was dealt with on my terms, Be careful if you have a writer in your life you might end up in their novel and find yourself used in a way you never dreamed.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m so with you on the coffee. I’ve even done the “mouthful of instant granules” thing in desperation. (It’s not pretty.) But (how’s this for coincidence?) I only did that because my migraine medicine was not working. Sometimes caffeine helps me kick the headache and I didn’t have the strength to brew a pot.

    Loved this, Jacqui.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I remember those migraine scenes in your book and how the character had to keep a supply of her remedy at hand. Great idea and great way to show ancient practices for ailments. I know you did a masterly job of research on Survival.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I don’t think I’ve ever thought about what traits of me appear in my characters.
    I will say that when I was reading To Hunt A Sub, I cringed every time Zeke ate a spoonful of coffee crystals. As much as I enjoy a cup of coffee, I can’t see myself doing that, LOL!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. My 12-year-old character certainly has some of my characteristics. LIke getting overly excited, worrying, loving animals and being a loyal friend. She has taught me to be more inquisitive, daring and willing to step out of my comfort zone. Tell me, have you ever got soap in your coffee while in the shower?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I don’t drink coffee, but could totally do that with milo (no idea if you have the equivalent of that in the US, but if you don’t you’re missing out).

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Jacqui, I enjoyed this post. I’m going to adopt your 10-second rule because I’m older too. I might even extend mine to 20. 🙂 I was intrigued by using a Mobius Strip to make decisions. Sounds like a great way of agreeing with yourself since it’s only got one side.

    Liked by 1 person

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