How much of you—the author—goes onto the page of your fiction stories?
As a novelist, we weave together stories that, hopefully, tell and interesting tale from open to close. After the words are on the page, we review and edit to check timeline, facts, and consistency. We rip apart our story arcs, character development and growth, and pick at every single word chosen.
But, what about our heroes and heroines? How much of them is us, of us is them?
When people compliment me on the emotion of my characters, I always say thank you. Why? Because I’m not a military wife, and I haven’t lost a husband in a war. Because I’ve never lost a child. Because I’ve never been a victim of abuse. But, the fact that readers believe the emotion in the books I’ve written makes me feel like I’ve done something right.
Recently, I met an author who wrote a fictional account of her battle to survive a relationship with an abusive partner. The author’s initials are L.J. and her heroine’s initials are L.J. I asked her about this, and she said that when she originally wrote the book, she didn’t want people to know it was her story. So, she hid behind Clark Kent’s glasses, so to speak. But, after more thought, she decided it was okay for people to know. And since that time she’s spoken on panels about domestic violence, and her book is an Amazon bestseller.
As a novelist, I believe the more I tap into my own emotions the more I am able to connect with readers. But, the connection can leave the writer exposed. So much of the author ends up on the page.
How do you balance the emotion of your characters and the life of the author?