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Simple enough question - Do you put yourself in your stories?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Reilith, Mar 12, 2015.

  1. Reilith

    Reilith Sage

    As a writer and a reader I've noticed something. Some writers have that one side character that presents them in their novels (for example Sam Tarly in ASOIAF) and maybe there are even those who actually see themselves as the MC. Yes, all of the characters are the writers children and thus a small projection of the writer is inevitable, but my question is: do you intentionally put yourself as a character in your writing?

    For me, it is a mixed deal. In short stories I usually write in first person, but sometimes I don't see myself as that character at all. When I was younger all of my writing was wrapped in imaginary scenarios for myself, so an idealized 'me' was the protagonist every time.

    Now as a bit more serious writer I like the idea of putting myself into my stories as a side character, maybe as a mentor or a friend of the MC's, if not completely, at least by looks or personality.

    Share your experiences. :)
  2. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    When I was in my teens and early twenties, a little bit. But now, not really. My characters are way cooler than I am or ever could be. As you said, I put bits and pieces of myself into my character, but I'm never the character. When I write, I think of the characters as a suit that I put on, and I pretend to be them. Because like I said, they're way cooler than I am.
  3. Tom

    Tom Istar

    I used to put myself in my stories a lot when I was younger. It was fun, you know, like role-playing. I'd just imagine myself into all different situations and explore them.

    Now that I'm older, I find myself making my MCs less and less like me. They still have core traits that connect me to them (most notable being a stubborn streak), but I've lost the need to tell my story. I want to tell other people's stories now.

    Occasionally I still put myself in a story as a side character or as part of a crowd scene, but sometimes I'll change my in-story gender or ethnicity to work better with the setting. The personality is all me, though, and I kind of have to admit that I like effing up my own storyworlds. (Which is what my self-insert characters do most of the time.)
  4. Russ

    Russ Istar

    No, I havn't done that.

    But now that you have me thinking about it...maybe just a bit part later on...
  5. ScipioSmith

    ScipioSmith Sage

    I wouldn't consider my MC to be me, but occassionally I think of something that I might say and decide to have my MC say it instead because it would sound better coming from him.

    I have written myself into the story as a one scene part, as a herald of the Empress.
  6. I love doing my Stan Lee cameos.
    Pythagoras and TheCatholicCrow like this.
  7. ArenRax

    ArenRax Sage

    Only in my head to escape reality. But, if I want to write it out I just put in an MC and I'm mostly done.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 12, 2015
  8. X Equestris

    X Equestris Maester

    I've never done self inserts. I might do a minor side character sometime, but that's it.
  9. Reilith

    Reilith Sage

    Brilliant answer - it really sums it up. I need to remember to give you rep when I am able to (used them up for now).

    As for all the others, I am glad to see a variety of answers. Keep 'em coming!
  10. Pythagoras

    Pythagoras Troubadour

    I am the Nameless Narrator in every one of my stories.
  11. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

    I've done it a couple of times. Once for a short story WIP, once for a potentially-longer fanfic WIP. It's an interesting exercise, trying to gauge how I'd react to all sorts of fantastical situations like fighting orcs or reciting poetry to a dragon.
  12. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

    This seemed appropriate....

    “I almost always urge people to write in the first person. Writing is an act of ego and you might as well admit it.”
    ― William Zinsser

    Pythagoras likes this.
  13. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

    My speech patterns are so distinctive that I have difficulty changing them for a character who should speak in a very different voice. I don't think my characters tend towards my personality, though, but rather that of my childhood best friend.
  14. Reilith

    Reilith Sage

    I do agree with this as it ilustrates a fare point, but I am one of those who are believers in third person writing. When writing fantasy I find it simpler and easier to portray rhe cast world as a first person writing woild have constrictions to only that character's point of view. In third person I can have his narrower view if I wish and be inside his head, or be the narrator explaining the world around me.
  15. Fyle

    Fyle Inkling

    I ran a comic strip for four years in my college paper and charity paper for the homeless in NYC where the MC was based on me, worked out well, and was easier to write due to that.

    I came close to expanding but, a larger publication that hired me went out of business before a bigger print could be run. Kinda scared me outta persuing it as a career.
  16. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

    By the Gods, No!
    I used to write as a form of redactive therapy which was pure first person PoV.
    That said I freely admit that my "issues" crop up in my characters, and writing in general, a little too often for my liking. So I guess I'm not done with the therapy after all.
    I've tried writing FPPoV for fantasy and I can't make it work the way I want it...
    And as I'm a 20th Century Boy and my fantasy really isn't I think that I'd feel out of place in anything I've written.
  17. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

    I love 3rd person too. I was mainly referring to the "writing is an act of ego" bit of the quote.
  18. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    I'm not sure what Zinsser means. Isn't every act an act of ego? Maybe he means the word as a synonym for arrogance or self-importance. Whichever way I turn it, I have to disagree.

    For me, writing has been a kind of compulsion. At a certain point, some years ago now, I looked back across my life and saw that I had been writing all my life. I had done other things for a time, but the one constant was writing. Huh, I said, being given to profound philosophical statements like that. I decided I should try getting serious about it.

    I had my core ideas. Everything I've written since then has had two aims. One, to explore the world I had conceived, to see if it really was as interesting as I thought it would be. That's the long-term goal. The short term goal is always to get the current story told. There, I'm just trying to get to the end of the darn thing, to build the bicycle well enough the wheels don't fall off, and to make it at least interesting enough and clear enough that I can take it out in public.

    In that context, things like self-expression or acts of ego just feel silly to me. Note the prepositional phrase, please. I'm very aware writing means different things to different people. I guess I contribute my own reasoning in hopes that someone else will say yes, me too. Which I reckon is an act of ego, right enough.
  19. Tom

    Tom Istar

    In traditional psychology the ego is simply the self--a person's sense of "me". We've sort of corrupted the original meaning, perhaps by confusing it with egotism, which is the inflation of self, an unhealthy focus on "me".
  20. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

    I write the most interesting parts of my life and thought process and assign them to a variety of characters...but most often I write people whose lives are three shades more colorful than mine will ever be.

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