Personal Experiences and Author Inserts

Thank you to Emma Aveston for hosting my blog today on her site. Pop over to “in a thousand blades of grass” to see posts like this and Emma’s own writing.

Guest Post: Writing with Personal Experiences and Author Inserts

I think it is nearly impossible for writers to keep themselves out of their writing entirely. Personality, life experiences, even friends work their ways into stories—purposefully or not.

That said, I have done my very best to keep much of my own life out of my writing. I fully admit my first novel—now safely hidden away in the depths of my computer—included an author insert. Worse, a Mary Sue (an idealized author insert). Only being fifteen at the time, I do my best to be too ashamed of it, but it did teach me that it can be dangerous putting too much of yourself in a character. As much as it can be fun to put yourself into a world where you can control everything around you (or “your character”) that doesn’t make for especially good story.

Of course, just because I do my best to keep “me” characters out of my books, that doesn’t mean parts of me don’t make it in now and again. There are just a few rules I try to stick to:

1. Don’t change your world for a character
One of the major problems with Mary Sues is that the character is wish fulfillment, and thus the character is able to do things that wouldn’t happen for anybody else in the world you have built. Whether it’s an author insert, a …Read More

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