Getting to Know Yourself through Writing

I now have 5 novels under my belt (3 published, 2 in the queue) and I’ve started to notice common threads that have revealed things I hadn’t before noticed about myself.

First, I tend to write my MC as a blonde female. It’s not a bad thing – it’s because I’m blonde. The MC in each of those 5 novels has been blonde and blue eyed. Once I noticed, I changed the hair and eye color of my next one. Hair color doesn’t really matter – and it bugs me when it’s constantly mentioned, especially with an endearing adjective, “her luscious brown locks, his luxurious black curls.” (FYI – No honest female thinks of herself in those words. We’re all hopelessly self-conscious regardless of how beautiful or talented or thin we actually are.)

Second, my MC’s love interest in each story has has brown hair and green eyes. It’s because I’ve got a thing for brown hair and green eyes. It helps me to feel the romantic interest. Sorry brown-eyed boys; I’m not saying you’re unattractive, but I do not personally feel a physical connection with you. There’s just something magical about a green-eyed boy.

Third, two of the father figures have spent a lot of time traveling – they both bring back gifts for their daughter, the MC. My father used to drive a truck; he knows the highways from Chicago to Memphis to Louisville to Kansas City. I don’t make any kind of trip without first consulting my human road map of a father. He also (in my younger days) would bring me back gifts.

Third (B), I’ve noticed the presence of strong parental figures, particularity fathers – my English Major senses catch onto things like that. And, like how Rowling constitutes Harry Potter’s lack of a father figure to her own lack of one, I constitute my MCs’ strong father figures to my own strong father figure. My mother was a great cook and fussed over housekeeping; most of my written mothers tend to have that same matronly charm and affection. Both of my parents have had (and still do) strong roles in my life.

Even Malone (from Devil’s Blood), whose birth parents are dead, finds a father figure in Sylvester and later in Clearwater. Tehdi sort of represents that role of motherly attention – of listening and then giving advice without getting angry or judging or threatening therapy.

It’s strange how we write what we know without realizing it. We write ourselves into each character, or people we know well, without meaning to. We have things that we know so well that we don’t realize we know them, and we fold those things into our writing. We fold our ideas of humanity, of culture, of race, of religion into that which we write.

Fourth, I’ve noticed a running theme of a natural magic. It’s present in all my books so far; it’s that kind of magic that’s there all the time. I’m Christian, I have no beef about admitting it – but I don’t openly write Christianity into my novels, mostly because they’re set in alternative worlds. I do keep a reverence for the magic. It’s respected. It’s “holy” in a sense that it knows things that people don’t, like a godly presence, and will assist when asked. I suppose it’s my way of writing God into my work without pointing to the bible or throwing it into the reader’s face. I feel like that’s easy to do.

Writing has become more than just writing for fun. It’s become a journal of my life, my hopes and dreams, my fears, my thoughts and beliefs – I just hope my insanity doesn’t show too much. I mean, a little’s alright – it’s like a dash of cayenne pepper, but too much makes the sinus burn.

3 thoughts on “Getting to Know Yourself through Writing

  1. It’s not insanity (surely not!). I’m not sure who said it, but the words were along the line of: I have time, I have paper and pen (or the equivalent) and I have me – what more do I need? He was referring to how he uses himself, his history, his dreams and fears – to put into his stories and characters, etc.
    Don’t we all do that, even a little bit?

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      1. I think I’ve used it as an excuse so many times that it’s probably changed over time to suit my needs, and not a true reflection of what was said – I could be wrong (but not likely!).

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