Friday, November 27

Comments Box

Posted by Shelly Holder


So the other day I opened up the blog to questions about me the author and my writing habits, etc. Not a lot of comments came in (sad face) but flightsofwhimsy (aka, MlleDiabolique) asked:

Do you base your characters off of people that you've met, television characters, other novel characters, somewhere else, or an amalgamation of these all? Do you find that you tend to be autobiographical in your fiction?

So my characters do tend to be an amalgamation of all sorts of inspiring quirks and personality traits from many many sources, but every once in a while there will be a specific person or literary character that I just have to play with. I mention this because right now there is a fellow student that I would love to base a character on, and I'm trying to pull off as much direct observation as I can without crossing into the land of creepy Stalker McStalkerpants. Television characters, not so much, but literary figures all the time (although usually it's along the lines of so-and-so does this, but what if they are actually X-Y-and-Z, what does that make them do now?)

I find that I am extremely autobiographical, in fiction, in poetry, in everything. I didn't realize how prevalent this was until this semester's creative writing course (Life Writing, which is based on all forms of autobipgraphical writing, from letters and journals to creative non-ficition and memoir and everything in between) and I found certain subjects creeping in where I had no intention of placing them.

There's also a quote that I really enjoy, and I cannot remember who said it, that "All writing, in some way, is emotionally autobiographical." I could not agree with this more. Distilled down, why would writers write, if not to express something that they feel important? That "something" will have a basis in some reality- and that is always autobiographical. The details don't matter. The actors and the setting and the period don't matter. All of those considerations can be changed without detracting from the essence, the truth of the occurance, and without detracting from the truth that it holds in writing.

Sometimes, I think we get too caught up in verifiable facts, and miss the point that the author is trying to make. It doens't matter if it IS true, but does it ACT true? Does it resonate within you, the reader, and does it pull at a little corner of your heart or whisper through your mind late at night? THAT is truth. Not something that can be listed on a Wikipedia bio page.

But that's another blog post.

Right Now:
What I want most: a nap, or leftovers? Decisions, decisions...
What I'm listening to: n/a