Word of the week: inkling /ˈiNGkliNG/ (hear it!) - noun - 1: a slight indication or suggestion : hint, clue; 2: a slight knowledge or vague notion - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Semi-Immortality In Writing

One thing I've discovered purely fascinating about being a writer is the interesting sense of semi-immortality it offers.

Semi-immortality? What the heck does that mean?

Well, for those of you who write fiction (and likely autobiographers, for that matter), you probably have an inkling of what I'm talking about. And perhaps you are grinning. Or maybe scowling. Or laughing your heads off. Who knows? Personal reactions to others' ramblings and musings vary, I'm sure. But for those of you who don't (write, or have an inkling, or ramble, or even have any reaction whatsoever), allow me explain.

Characters. Whoo, boy! It's oh-so easy for a writer to insert certain bit-traits of himself into the characters he writes about, and to flesh them out from there. You see, we writers are always told: “Write what you know!” All right, fine. Who better do we know—truly—than ourselves?

So, that said . . . I have several characters on my plate in various, scattered projects. Some are drawn from others' traits, but many of my main characters are drawn from myself and certain inborn and learned traits, likes and dislikes.

For example: Marisa, the main character in my novel, The Perfect Player. She loves going into the forest at night, even though she knows it's forbidden. Me? Used to do it all the time; nighttime exploration of the woods was great fun in my teenage years. Foolish? Absolutely. Yet it gave me excellent experiences to draw upon. Marisa also dreads public speaking; she's inherently poor at it. Guess what I'm inherently poor at, too.

Another example: Eden, Marisa's mother, the main character in another novel of mine, The Drawing Voice. Bitter, cynical, scathing—Ooo, awful traits I must admit I possess as well. Let's just say I live vicariously through her: Direct, to a fault, without worrying over consequences, Eden is. Myself? Society's expectations and polite self-control have kept me quiet, to a fault. Eden's also fond of “creatures of the dark,” particularly demons; I happen to adore bats (unless they get stuck in my hair, which they never do), and creepy-crawlies like spiders, centipedes, millipedes, worms, slugs . . . creatures people normally abhor. Oh, yes, and minotaurs are very cool . . . unless they get stuck in my hair.

And another example: Malia, Marisa's aunt, the main character in a third novel, The Coalition Letters. Strong minded young woman, with a will to match; a runaway who hates being squashed by unfair rules and festers inside with guilt over rash actions, yet in time learns to repair the hearts she's broken and to mend relationships with forgiveness. Pfft. Generally, the story of most of our lives, no?

Others? Fern despises womanizing men (The Deeper the Lust, the Sweeter the Flesh). Kerri is heartbroken over losing her beloved Golden Retriever to cancer (Open Your Heart to Chance). Albert and Ralph are subjected to an overabundance of deliberately misused cliché phrases (The Straw The Broke the Camel's Back—yeah, yeah, I know, it's not really a trait, but it was fun to construct!), and Jack the squirrel discovers the strength behind familial devotion and love (My Jack!). I even express my affection for gargoyles and fantasy's overall bizarreness in a flash piece (Ugly Stone)—yes, I, as the main character has no name.

And there's so much more! But in each and every one of those main characters, I have left a piece of myself—a semi-immortality, of sorts—as many fiction writers have probably done so in the past, and will continue to do so in the future. Scattered bits for readers to remember us by? *shrug* Perhaps, but because of this, we writers kind of live on, and on, and on . . . even long after we pass from this tangible world, to whatever realm happens to be next in the future of our souls.

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Cloud angel - picture credit - Alice Popkorn


  1. Again a wonderful post Kim!
    I just realised that you basically say what the goblin is on about in most of his posts too, albeit he mostly hides it in a stream of words which are illegible to most, where you are very clear about it. In a writers way clear.

    1. Thank you! Yeah, the goblin still confuses me. Although, he now highlights (puts in bold) the important stuff, so it's easier to understand. At times, at least.

  2. OOOOOO Im telling Mom that you went into the woods alone at night! LOL Thats ok. I used to iceskate on the pond when no one was around,something that was forbidden without a chapherone,and no one had an INKLING of what I did. So I guess we are even.Great post,Kim. I just learned something new about you and here i thought I knew you when,in fact,I didnt have an INKLING. Love ya,sis. And if we told mom,she would probably laugh now. Dad did when I told him what I did. :)

    1. You didn't have an INKLING?? Lol! I think Mom already knew I went into the woods at night. I know Dad did. :P . . . Anonymous! Lol! (I know who you are!)

  3. Good post, Kimberly. :)


    'Bitter, cynical, scathing—Ooo, awful traits I must admit I possess as well.'

    That I never would have guessed. Sort of sounds like you're describing me with the cynical part, due to my high view of people.

    1. Yeah, I can be. Not all the time, but when something sets me off, boy . . . whoo! Yes. I think we all can by cynical to some degree. And David . . . you're one of the nicest people I've met. :D

  4. I do put elements of myself into my characters. There's a good dash of me in my main characters... and even supporting characters.