Friday, October 15, 2010

Me, Myself, & I: Grover's Way

When you're writing, do you look at yourself to gain insight into your characters?? Have you been taken captive by the Little Me Syndrome?

I fall into that trap all the time. Mostly, I don't realize it. I dream up someone I would like to meet or wish I could have been more like. As I develop the character, I slowly discover bits of myself threaded within the psyche of my paper playmate.

Is that bad? Is it good?

Who knows? What I do know is that it motivates me. I use it as a staring point, a familiar road map.


Three aspects for healthily developing YA or MG characters using your 'little me'.

1)  Your past.
YOU have one, whether you want to admit it or not. You have lived. You have life experiences--some pleasant, some maybe not so pleasant. You may even have a few embarrassing ones. So what??

Claim them. They are yours.

Use them during your outlining, plotting, and developing stages. Depending on the story you're writing, think back to some of the places you've been and the people you've seen. I'm sure we can all dig up a strange dude from the county fair or that crazy aunt that made us cringe with her cooking. What was unique about them? How can you build upon your perspective of them to spice your story up?

2) Your present.
'K, that goes without explanation. See where you are today. Right now.

Um...where are you???

Think about it, and I'm not just talking about physically--although that can be useful in adding life to a character and their environment. Where is your heart? How could it change? For better or for worse. All characters don't have to be good, you know. Explore yourself and think out of the box. Use yourself--in this case, that's a good thing.

3) Your future.
Yes, you do have one. And so does that character you're breathing life into. REAL life. That character has hopes and dreams, fears and apprehensions. There is a minion of qualities, both good and bad, that you can use. And then there are their senses, but that's for another post. Think of the people you already know: that strange neighbor who only comes out between 5pm and 7pm to walk the dog, or that little blond boy who rides by on his scooter and wipes out on the same manhole cover every time. What about your mailman? How many have you had where you live? I know we've had like five or six. Any characteristic stick out about any of them? Combine them.

There is a cornucopia of ideas to developing characters if you just look at yourself. It's okay.

I thought it would be fun to let a special guest cue me out for the weekend. He really does have a valuable opinion on the subject. So, without further adieu, here's Grover:

Have you ever used this technique or one similar to deepen your characters, or do you find it too difficult to use yourself as a mirror? 

DON'T forget about the Writers CONTEST I'm hosting for the month of October ~ Seven Fangtastical Winners to be chosen by my hand--with a little help from my 11yr-old daughter. She knows what makes her laugh, cry, and surely what scares ME.

Clue #2: They are mostly white, black or brown, but some have been known to be purplish or red in color.
If you missed Clue #1 on the one thing that scares me, you can find it HERE.

Remember, if someone guesses correctly, I have to post a horrific picture of myself from high school, all dressed up for Halloween...or maybe it was 'Dress As A Freak Day'. Enjoy your weekend, and I promise to blog on Monday. Sunday is the last day of MuseCon!! I'm pooped. <3


  1. Yes I use so many aspects of myself and my past in my writing. I have a lot of juicy stuff from my childhood too having grown up with musicians as parents. The danger of that though, when I use too much, is that it brings my mojo down. Something I don't like remembering deflates my writing enthusiam! PS: I LOVE Grover!!!!

  2. Love Grover! Great post, important points! I'm completely stumped with what scares you.... must think on it some more..... :)

  3. Yes, I use aspects of myself and my daughter some times.

  4. I definitely use bits of myself, especially my past, when creating my YA characters. :)

  5. I use bits about things I like and dislike but I'm not sure it goes much deeper. I could be wrong. Who knows. I like to make up people I, too, would like to be more like or want to know.

  6. I use bits about me, but I mostly use bits from my children! LOL. :-)

    Have a great weekend!

  7. My characters usually have character traits I *wish* I had -- forthrightness -- or character traits it would be fun to try -- a talent for lying -- but they don't usually resemble the real me. I'm just not interesting enough to be the MC in a novel. :)

  8. A lot of my characters have little aspects of me in them, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. And I love Grover!

  9. OMG Grover is The Old-Spice Guy!! I love Grover; not so much the old-spice guy although he makes me laugh every time.

    My characters probably have more traits in me than I'd like to admit. But my mom was a psychologist, so I have lots of material to draw on that isn't actually me, just memories of crazy things!! :)

  10. I agree. I use a lot of myself in my novels. I can't write about life without looking at my own.

  11. hi miss sheri! cause i dont have so much life experience a lot of me gets in my characters. and cause my mc in two of my books is me then all of me gets into him. im trying to guess what scares you but so far i didnt get it but im not giving up.
    ...hugs from lenny

  12. Oh, now I'm very curious about what scares you! I have a few guesses, but I'm not sure if I'm supposed to say them...

    Also, I just wanted to tell you that I gave you an award over on my blog!
    Blog awards


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