An Icy Reflection

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is always a strange one. It’s the perfect intersection of down time and go time, when there’s the internal struggle to rest up after the holiday and gear up for the new year.

It’s almost a strange purgatory of sorts, the space between the mental end of the year and the true end of the calendar.

I wanted to mark that section of time in this week’s blog, the first of ones set during purgatory week. I decided to do so by combining both the themes for December (Ice) and January (Reflection) in a single post. Because it seems appropriate.

Ice, of course, is a reflective surface. It’s nature’s mirror, the cold weather version of summer’s serene, translucent lake. But it’s imperfect. It’s not an exact mirror, because it’s often cracked, weak or warped. Much like how a writer’s characters—no matter how meaningfully different—are often a cracked, weak (as in watered down) or warped version of ourselves in some way.

Obviously, most of us will own up to it if a character is modeled after ourselves. Or people we know. But even when we resist making that comparison, we know there’s a faint reflection of ourselves in there somewhere. Mostly because we can’t deny that the person on the page sprung from our brains. And therefore has a bit of us within his or her depths.

As I sit here on the cusp of 2015, I can look back at the seven finished manuscripts I have and see bits of myself in each character. I can chart their births on a graph made of milestones in my life. I can see flashes of my personality here and there—especially in “fictional” characteristics I hate. I can even parallel certain events that shape their lives with plot points in my own.

How are your characters an icy reflection of yourself?

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7 thoughts on “An Icy Reflection”

  1. Sarah, I think this is so true. A little piece of the author lives in every character. I know for myself this is the case – it’s just amplified. My protagonist characters value the same things I do, but even in my antagonist I see my vices, just “turned up to 11.”

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  2. Oh, yes, very true! And when our characters aren’t outwardly like us, then we can apply emotions that we have experienced the same as our characters.

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  3. Sarah, this is dead on. I love your description of this week between Christmas and New Years, too. I’m like you: I can chart the events of my life in events that happen to my characters. Not always the same event, but a similar emotional punch that affected me at the time. On re-readings, it’s at times both humorous and tragic.

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