Accidental Personality

It’s the first Wednesday in October, which means it’s IWSG day! Visit their site! Use the hashtag #IWSG. Write up a storm. Tweet all the things. Dive into that second draft. Embrace your full-on neurotic tendencies, because the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is here for you.

The optional question for October is: Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

As always, go visit the co-hosts and enjoy their posts on the topic. The hosts this month are: Olga Godim, Jennifer HawesTamara Narayan & Chemist Ken

August 2017 026

The ISWG newsletter challenged us to include a picture of ourselves with their logo or swag this month too. I’m not sure if they tied that in to the “personal” question on purpose, or if it’s just a happy accident. Either way, here is my IWSG photo. I guess we could call this my alter-ego, Should-be-editing-but-reading-comics-instead-Girl.

To answer the question: Yes. Yes to everything. Every one of my characters gets something from me intentionally. Usually something small, like their favorite color. The way I picture my characters they are distinct, whole people. A lot of them is not like me at all. But I want them to have something real, something another person would empathize with, a reason I would want to be their friend in real life. It’s writing what I know, in a way.


Accidentally, I’m sure a lot of my world view, beliefs, and culture are bleeding into my characters. I try to watch for that and edit it, but I know it squeaks through. There’s been a lot of focus on diversity in books lately and that’s a good thing. (We Need Diverse has been super helpful, and The Ripped Bodice just came out with this report on the state of diversity in Romance publishing. Spoiler alert: not many authors have a skin color other than white right now.)

It has also made me aware of how hard I need to work to make sure my books are reflecting the diverse reality we live in. It seems like a minefield sometimes, especially when the conversation gets into authenticity and appropriation. So I’m just trying my best to research, never assume, and remember that not everyone in my books should come from a background like mine.

How about you? What parts of your character come from your reality?




featured image via & Thong Vo


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[…] Accidental Personality […]

Heather M. Gardner

Excellent photo!
Great post!
Thanks for participating!
Heather M. Gardner

Lynda R Young

Ha, I love your entry into the contest.
And yeah we can’t help putting ourselves into our writing. Where else can we draw from?

S.E. White

Thank you!


Oh! We named our first cats Calvin & Hobbes. I love the photo.

S.E. White

I really wish sometimes I had the creative power of Bill Watterson!

Awesome picture! πŸ™‚ I think we all put a little something of ourselves into our characters. Research is one of my favorite things to do.

Learning to love it. Now I have to learn how not to get sucked into strange mazes of useless trivia while researching.


LOL. Those look my bookshelves. I think adding some of my quirks to my characters help flesh them out a bit. Just nothing too personal.

S.E. White

I do try to stay away from the too personal, and stick to fandoms or favorite foods. Lots of humans have a favorite food, so I feel pretty safe there. Haha.

Tamara Narayan

I love Calvin and Hobbs–bought them all for my daughter when she was in third and fourth grade.

S.E. White

I’m sure she loved getting them!


Okay, first: did you take that picture in your own house? Don’t actually answer that question, as I feel like that’s sharing too much personal info with the dodgy internet, but if that’s a bookshelf in your house, I like you already! Also, Calvin and Hobbes. Fantastic form of procrastination. Thanks for the post, and happy IWSG day (belated). P.S. love the layout of your website. Really beautiful and welcoming photo on the home page. πŸ™‚

S.E. White

Thanks Kathy! I love the WordPress layouts too. It *might* be one of my way too many bookshelves. I’m so lucky my family doesn’t mind sharing living space with hundreds of books!


Hey S.E.,

I love comics too! I like your description of having your characters share a part of you is a way of writing what you know. I have a habit of putting some of my quirks into my characters–good guys and villains. It can be their favorite color, the music they listen to, their shyness, their favorite foods and tv shows.

Keep smiling,

S.E. White

I love giving a bad guy a quirk, and then taking it up a notch or twenty! Lol


I think it’s inevitable for our own traits to slip in. The key is catching them when! (At least, when it’s starting to look like an autobiography). But like you said, we have to remember the diverse reality that we live in. Good luck in your writing!

S.E. White

I definitely want to stay away from autobiography territory. Plus I like exploring how my characters are different, and usually much cooler than me.

Posing with a Calvin and Hobbes book – classy!
A little bit of us goes into the characters no matter what.

Only the best, especially for IWSG photos!

Olga Godim

I think if a writer is honest with herself, her fiction becomes almost a self-portrait, a bearing of her soul. Even if my characters are not like me at all, the differences are superficial. Deep down, they are all parts of me. I can’t give them thoughts I can’t understand or approve, or feelings that are repugnant to me. Maybe some writers can, but I can’t.

S.E. White

That’s a great way to put it.

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