You’ve been there. Don’t deny it.

You’ve read something fictional either on a blog, in a paperback or an e-book by a writer/blogger and thought one of the two things:

Is the writer talking about herself?

Do writers only write from personal experience?

Granted, this may not always happen. Perhaps it is more obvious when the writer is ‘known’ to the readers, either through direct friendship or blogger connections. So one starts assuming that the pain she writes about must be her own or the exuberance she pours out on the blog mirrors her life.

What if the exact opposite were true?

I, for one, actually write a lot of my ‘sad’ work when I am sufficiently recovered from the pain of an incident and can look at it objectively. I rarely rant or post in anger, because I know the repercussions of doing that.

Especially intriguing is the idea of multiple characters in a story. In that situation, how would you be able to tell which character is mirroring the writer? Would a well-etched one be the obvious choice? Or perhaps the writer is projecting the polar extremity of thought in that fleshed out character?

I’ve always wondered and been fascinated by this.

Most often, though, I admire the writing for its own sake and I don’t judge the writer based on the character.


How about you?

Do you, as a writer, model your characters on yourself?

As a reader, do you make any assumptions about writers?


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46 thoughts on “Judging the writer by the work #MicroblogMondays

  1. Since I don’t write fiction, I can’t answer this from a writer’s perspective.
    As a reader, I don’t judge the writer by the work. In the sense that, I do not necessarily think that the writer has modeled the characters on himself/herself.
    However, as an editor, I have found myself drawing some conclusions about the writer, as I told you in our recent discussion. But even then, I don’t necessarily think that they have modeled characters/events on real life.

  2. You know, every time I write one of my horror stories, I keep thinking what if a reader thinks I’m some sorta serial killer. I also wonder sometimes if any writer would openly (through their writing) admit to having a negative trait. Not your run of the mill kinda negative trait (whatever that meant!), something really bad.
    When you read multiple works of a certain author, you realize there are some characters in each book that are similar. Maybe they are drawn from real life…?

    1. Sreesha, are you? A serial killer? 😀 Ha ha, never mind, I’ll take my chances 😉 Would a writer openly admit a negative trait? I have admitted to yelling at my kid and that actually endeared me to a lot of readers. Although, I doubt if I would ever admit to having murderous rage so I know what you mean 😉

      1. LOL, let’s keep mum about that.

        Losing your temper isn’t really a negative trait – that just shows you’re human.
        So you wouldn’t, huh. Hmmm *throws post about murderous rage into trash and closes laptop lid*

  3. I don’t write fiction at all, but I suppose if I did, it would be based on some reality, either mine or some real incident! Because, my imagination would not help me build a pure fictional character! 😀

  4. My writings varies from emotional, fun to thrillers. Basically I think writers should be capable of putting them in their characters’ shoes to bring out the essence of the story. Happy or otherwise, I have written both from my personal experience and also fantasy stuff. 🙂

  5. I consistently write sad poems… as if the world of tragedy has crashed right on top of me… but in reality I am a very happy person. Real life inspires me, fortunately or unfortunately I am easily swayed by emotions of others … and even feel then as my own. I have cried reading my own words and then wondered what the heck is wrong with me …. ahh creative people are a crazy bunch… isn’t it?

    1. Yes we are rather crazy, right? Sometimes my best sad poems come when I feel happiest and vice versa. So the emotion does not necessarily mirror my words at that point in time. Your comment about feeling the pain of others is actually rather interesting. Must think that over.

  6. I write to get out of that moody phase, if I have one, but I don’t always put out why I’m sad in the post itself, or characterize them in a fiction on that topic. 🙂 Writing itself is therapy, no matter what I write.

  7. Oh sure! If you read my books and you know me, you can see those little true stories that are woven into the book. I don’t know if it would be interesting — to me — to write a whole character based on a person, but certainly I borrow traits from this person or that person to make the character.

  8. I think that personalities are so complex that you can inject a little bit of yourself into a wide variety of characters. There are some authors who can envision such terrifying characters that you hope that’s not lurking somewhere beneath their surface! I think for some authors, there’s a borrowing of your own personality traits, and traits in other people you’ve seen, and then a running of it into unfamiliar territory.

    1. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with that one, Jess. The envisioning of terrifying characters, I mean. somewhere, you do wonder where the genesis of the character lies, right? I mean, is it from reading about a similar character elsewhere or is it there in the embers of your being? Frightening, really , when you think about it.

  9. Yup! Very much happens. I used to write poetry (read: shayari) way back in 2007. Though I did not write too many, but a few were very nice (I know I am praising myself 😛 ) And once in a while when I used to write romantic ones, my readers would question me as if I was writing about myself. But none of them was about me.

      1. I guess I lost interest and got busy with life…but one thing I realized – I still like to blog and I will keep blogging. Even if I don’t get many visitors or comments on my blog, I will blog for my love of blogging 🙂

  10. I don’t think about this when I am reading a paperback. If one work of a particular author moves me, I read a series of the subsequent works of the same author to understand his/her mind. I can’t say the same about blogging because I do not read fiction in blogging.

      1. Sshhh… I have to admit Shailaja that I have limited intelligence to understand fiction. I prefer being spoon fed. Fiction in blogging is Hollywood where the audience has to apply their own mind and I love Bollywood – no brains required, everything spoon fed. Hope I could meet you some day 🙂

  11. I think the writer often puts something of him/her in the characters – a trait, a quirk, the way a character dresses … something. Also, on a blog, unless it’s a fiction blog, I’d think it likely that some part of the writer shows up in his/her writing.

  12. Well, no I don’t think so…When I read novels, I don’t think the writer is mirroring himself or herself…For blogs, some posts we know are personal experiences.. Mine too for that matter…

    I don’t know but this question hasn’t really bothered me so much…

  13. Considering everything I write ranges from deeply personal to common knowledge (based on my own life), I automatically assume that things that bloggers write is about themselves 🙂 Not creative fiction though and entries for prompts though.

  14. Yes, I think it’s natural to use your own experiences, as well as stories I’ve heard from other people, their character quirks etc etc. It is unfortunately normal for others to assume that too.

  15. I used to do that until I started writing.. hehehe. .then I realised it’s kind of irritating when people assume that everything you write is about you or your family. Mostly family members tend to think that. ?

  16. I don’t think so. As in, I don’t think I model my characters on me. Maybe on others – but yes, I have been told that some of my characters do resonate with some of my readers. So I suppose as they say in the movies, ‘Any resemblance to characters dead or living is purely coincidental’ 🙂

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