There are a few ways an author can review a manuscript with introspection. The first is to ask herself (or himself as the case may be) if she wrote a character that could be mistaken for her. In other words, did I as the author, write myself into the story? If so did I do it on purpose–because I’m a prima donna–or worse, by accident?

As an author who plans to keep on writing my thought is that doing so is a bad idea. The more the ‘author’ character is revealed, the less I have to work with when being interviewed or promoting my work by other means. Why would they talk to me personally when they can ‘read me?’

Accidentally writing yourself into the story can be detrimental in other ways. First, it could be a shock when a person realizes his ‘created’ character seems all too familiar.

Second, this could lead to some nasty and unnecessary introspection. It’s a better idea to know yourself before you begin writing.

An easy way to write yourself in is to write in the first person. Your novel may be full of things like, ‘then I raced down the stairs,’ or ‘the blood oozed out of his neck when I checked for a pulse.’ While not all first person manuscripts have the author as character it’s a good idea to distance creation from creator or you may end up with your own biography. Writing in the first person is supposed to allow the main character to draw the reader into the story.

Of course you can write yourself in as a background character who ties up all the loose ends for the reader. This is the modern equivalent of an ‘aside’ or even a narrator. It’s more acceptable to ‘show’ instead of using this ‘tell.’ Even readers seem to prefer action to lengthy dialogue or soul searching.

As the creator of your own characters it’s worth noting that most of them will have something in common with you. They’re human, if I’m not assuming too much.

We tend to write from snippets of our own experience which allow us to create believable behaviors and personalities. Readers have their own life experience to draw upon and are quick to recognize when writing seems unreal. The trick is to allow them to see themselves in or be able to relate to your fictional characters. It can detract from their experience to spot the author hiding in the shadows.

About Scifialiens

Author of the Martian Symbiont series: three titles, so far; Been Blued, Martian Blues, Martian Divides. Currently writing screenplays. 'Mating With Humans' can be found on her account. Enjoyed writing from the start. Also a Star Trek and Doctor Who fan. Canadian so far. Paternal grandparents were American. Feels more at home in the States. Loves dogs and most other animals. Loves cats from afar--allergies. Plays flute and saxophone; 'messes with' keyboard and electric guitar. Single so far. Not really looking at the moment. Age: irrelevant. Not to be confused with the fictional comic book character, Phyllis Twombly, who lived for 600 years in the American Midwest.

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