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#IWSG Infusing Characters with Personal Traits

Happy July to all writers! And Happy July 4th to Americans. Thank you to Alex Cavanaugh for starting the Insecure Writers’ Support Group, where we support and befriend writerly peeps.


I’m excited to be a co-host this month along with Erika Beebe, Natalie Aguirre, MJ Fifield, Lisa Buie-Collard,and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor!


Congratulations to Ellen Jacobson (The Cynical Sailor) for her new release, Poisoned by the Pier (Molly McGhie Cozy Sailing Mystery #3). I’m reading it now and it’s a lot of fun! Molly’s husband is trying a fad diet involving rutabaga–this is not going to end well.

Are you entering the 2019 IWSG Anthology Contest? The genre is middle grade historical adventure/fantasy. I was fortunate to be part of Masquerade: Oddly Suited, Dancing Lemur Press’s young adult romance anthology, and I met some wonderful IWSG authors in addition to working with a publisher featuring fast, clear communication. What a pleasure! I encourage you to submit a story for this year’s contest.

Speaking of Dancing Lemur Press, they have a BOGO book sale this week! Check it out


I love the introspective nature of this month’s question: What personal trait(s) have you written into your characters?

Wow. What personal traits haven’t I written into my characters? I find writing to be therapeutic, so I pour myself into my characters. I’m a psychologist and my books typically feature at least one therapist character. I’ve infused characters with these personal traits as well: anxious, romantic yet clueless at romance, intellectual, sporty (particularly swimming and volleyball), competitive, sensitive, analytical, passionate, persevering, overeating, loud laugher.

I’m working on a new novel, and my heroine is a smoker. Since I abhor smoking, this is a bit of a challenge for me.

I’m curious to hear your responses to this question! Write on.



62 thoughts on “#IWSG Infusing Characters with Personal Traits”

  1. I'm the same way. I always pour myself into my characters. My favorite part of writing is bringing them to life. Even when I don't mean to, I put a bit of myself into them. :-DHave a great weekend!

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  2. Yeah, I do. It's at reneescattergood.com :-DI actually have a couple of blogs where I feature authors. Renee's Author Spotlight is for indie and small press authors. Speculative Fiction Spot is for speculative fiction authors.

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  3. It's both fun to write characters who are really different than me and challenging! The danger for me when I do something like give someone a hobby I have no experience with (or like your smoker: a habit I've never experienced) is falling down the research rabbit hole and losing too much writing time to reading! @mirymom1 fromBalancing Act

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  4. Renee, thanks for the URL. Sometimes it's hard to find the blogs where authors post IWSG.Samantha, I agree that research can distract us from productive writing at times. But it's also cool to learn about new hobbies!

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  5. I'm not sure I can write MG at all. I don't think I \”gpt\” the stories even when I was that age, lol. I'm sure you will find other experiences that will help you write a character that smokes: that first savory taste of chocolate after an emotionally charged day, the energizing effect of morning coffee, the total relaxion of staring at a favorite view after a job well done.Good luck with the writing.

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  6. Dolorah, I haven't read middle grade (except maybe when I was that age though I don't think it was called that then?) and I agree that I don't think I'd be up to the task of writing MG, nor fantasy nor history! So I'm definitely out. 😉 Smoking is probably like any other habit we engage in to avoid feelings, eh?

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  7. I also find writing to be therapeutic and as a social worker, I find myself crafting much larger back stories than are probably needed. I think it's all the training in family systems theories. LOL

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  8. Hi Jennifer! I just realized I commented to the \”wrong\” blog post, thinking they were one. Sorry about that. I guess my comment to this post is part of he one for your previous post! 🙂

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  9. Elizabeth, great to hear from another mental health professional. Social workers are such systemic thinkers–I bet you can easily get lost in families and backstories. But so much fun to write!Liesbet, I saw your post and thank you.Hey Nick, probably inevitable, you're right. Good luck with writing!

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