As authors, we all strive to convey a message through our stories. Yet, over the years and the dozens of stories I’ve written, I’ve also learned a lot–mostly about myself. The characters I create all carry some small part of me in them. I’m not a plotter when it comes to writing. Usually, I have a few basic ideas about my characters and where the story will go, but it’s barely enough to fill a Post-It note. Everything else develops as I get deeper into the story, with my characters taking the helm and steering me where they want.
I’ve been “in the zone,” that fugue-like state where the real world melts away and my fingers frantically try to keep up with my brain as the words magically appear on the pages. And often, when I finally return to earth, I read what I’ve written and sit back in awe. Not at the brilliance of the excerpt, but at the insight.
All of my values, my beliefs, my fears and, yes, even some of my memories have spilled onto the page. Characters like April Raine in NOBODY’S DARLING, Marisa Alvarez in KISMET’S REVENGE, and Jodie Devlin in ETERNALLY YOURS have so much of who I am in them, it’s almost frightening. Sure, it’s fiction, and at the same time, it’s part autobiographical, too.
If I could give writers one piece of advice, it would be this: Dare to Put Yourself on the Page. Go there. Examine yourself, dig into those memories (especially the ones that make you wince!), open up that vein and bleed on the page. Because, my friends, that is what makes your characters resonate with readers.
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