Saturday, 14 April 2012

What Your Writing Says About You

I think what we write, whether it be our genre, target market or character creation, can say a lot about you as a person.
For me at least I think this is true. I tend to write dystopian-esque fiction because as previously noted, I’m a massive fan of dystopia. I have tended to write YA in the past because I want to write the type of novel I myself would want to read. I create characters with characteristics that I myself aspire to.
But yesterday I began to think about this a little more. I realised something yesterday, and it actually surprised me, even though I probably should have been more aware of it. Out of anything major I’ve ever written (I’m talking novels, even incomplete, and my latest collection of short stories), my protagonist has always been an only child. They’ve never had a sibling. Other characters I’ve written have had siblings, even major characters have had siblings, but never my main character. That might not seem strange to you. But it is strange to me, because I’m not an only child. I have a sister.
I’ve read books where the main character has a sibling or many siblings, and I have nothing against these books. The first example in my mind would be The Hunger Games – the movie of which I’m finally going to see today! – with Katniss and Prim. Prim, if anything, adds to Katniss’ character rather than degrades it. Through Prim we see a side to Katniss that not a lot of other characters see, and we begin to relate to her through Prim. I would even go as far to say that if you took away Prim from The Hunger Games series, it would be a massive detriment to Katniss as a character.
So how does this newly discovered fact about my writing reflect on myself? Well, unlike Katniss and Prim, I don’t have a good relationship with my sister. I’m the youngest, which meant my sister grew up and I hadn’t quite got there yet. I was left behind. My sister became a teenager, she moved on to better things, and ever since then our relationship hasn’t been ideal. These days she only ever speaks to me if she needs something, and whilst I hope that changes in the future (I would like to have a better relationship with my sister) I’m not entirely sure it will.
But back to writing. I think the reason my main characters don’t have siblings is because out of all the characters in my novels, they are the ones who greatest reflect me. Maybe it's simply a coincidence, and the thought of writing in an MC with a sibling just never occurred to me. But perhaps I never saw my MCs with a sibling because the fact is, I don’t see myself as having a great relationship with my sibling. So it became easier for me to simply not to create one for my protagonist.
The next time I sit down to write something major, I might create a sibling for my main character. Whilst it could be a challenge for me, it will hopefully create a different dynamic for the premise of the novel. It’s just strange to think such a major element of my writing could have been so affected by something as simple as not having a good relationship with my sister.
What about you? How well do you think your writing reflects you as a person? Can you see elements of yourself in your protagonists?  


  1. I like to write what I know, and they are usually my best pieces. My main characters usually have some sort of dilemma I have/am experiencing or have traits that I have or aspire to have. What you've said about your main characters in comparison to yourself is very interesting. I'd say you've probably created some sort of subconscious trend within your work.

    1. I think it's good to write what you know, but I try not to be limited by that - I like to write about things which I have no idea about sometimes, which requires research, but in the end it's a lot of fun to find out about these things. I agree, and it's strange to think that bits of my own life have filtered into my writing without me even realising it. But I guess that goes to show how personal writing truly is to us!