People always ask me ‘how much of your life is incorporated in your books?’ The answer to that is all of it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not writing my autobiography. I fill the pages with emotions that I have felt, sights that I’ve seen and have never seen. The heroes or heroines are not me, but sometimes they do have some of my personal story incorporated into them, but only slightly. My perspective of things drives the direction of the stories I write.
When I wrote Dreamwalker: The Second Plain, I was concerned that people I know would assume it was semi-autobiographical. And they did. I remember my dad being upset with me over an anti-gay bullying scene, and wanting to know why I never said anything about it. I tried as best I could to explain to him that it never happened to me, it was all made up. But he insisted, saying something like ‘but that sounds to real to be made up.’
A few weeks ago, I was discussing what I am working on (currently named Home), even sent him a few excerpts. (I should note that he’s Catholic, so he’s been very helpful with learning Biblical things. I almost think he’s afraid for my soul for what I’m doing.) During this conversation he says, “you’re Cody.” Cody is one of the lead characters in this story, who is being faced with something monumental. I started laughing, I didn’t know what else to do. Of course, even when asked, he gives no explanation. Now I wonder, “Am I my characters or are my characters me?”
I look back at my stories and can see some resemblance of me in them. But since I’m now focusing on Home, I wonder how much of me is actually in each character. I begin to tear them apart, look deeper into them. The story is coming together nicely, the people are brilliant, the scenes are beautiful. I still don’t see it, but I think to a point the characters are going to have a touch of me in them because they are coming out of me. However, they are not me. They have their own lives separate from me, I’m just doing what I do and send them out into the world for everyone to meet.
Home is very exciting for me. It is based in my hometown of Shoshoni, WY. Though I would never in my life ever want to live there again, it has my full respect, as do the remaining residents. Main Street will be the primary focus, specifically the East side of Main Street. Part of that block was destroyed in a fire in the late 70’s, and never restored. My endeavor is to restore it. I want Shoshoni to be remembered with the splendor I saw it having growing up. Not to mention the mystery and the scary darkness. At this point, I don’t have an expected date for completion (I’m at 24k words and have barely begun). I will try to be more vigilant with posting as things progress.
Here’s a little taste.
2 responses to “Thoughts On Writing #amwriting #Shoshoni”
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Everyone always thinks you're your characters. And, like you said, on some deep level, they are kind of. But I am not an autobiographical author, and often times I relate more to a character that people would never expect.
Whether or not Cody “is you,” people will always assume you're the protagonist, unless you start switching genres. It's annoyed me forever, but I've begun to learn to live with it. I have a beta-reader who, as an inside joke, will leave comments to “prove” the character is me. It can get pretty tongue and cheek at times, and now I find it kind of fun examining it as you do.