Hey, don’t I know you?

Wendy Wasserstein and Harold Prince at Open Do...
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You’re always writing different aspects of yourself into different characters. You are never writing yourself. – Wendy Wasserstein (Paris Review)

As writers, the narcissistic little self-serving non-neophytes that we are, we tend to address our need to self-loathe or self-appreciate through our characters. Oftentimes we take little pieces of our personalities and sprinkle them throughout our characters. Maybe its a habit of nail-biting, or the way we sip our tea, or the way we doubt everyone around us, but whatever the characteristic we love or hate about ourselves, we tend to sneak them into our characters. However, we are never fully in the story.  There is never a time, I believe, when we develop a character purely from our own personality. I’m the same way with friends. I’ll often write the character traits of friends into characters but I never develop a character totally based on a friend’s personality. Sometimes, I’m so into me that all the characters in a story are based in some part on my great personality. Surely, I jest.

Seriously folks, why do we need to find ourselves through our characters? Can it be said that writing is a recluse’s therapy?  Perhaps there are things about us we want people to know but are too bashful or ashamed to share outright. Could figuring out a character’s problem based on some trait help us clear some cobwebs from our own minds?

What are the character traits you possess that have ended up as a character quirk in your stories?


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