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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

IWSG October 2017 - Writing Real

 It's IWSG Day.  The goal of this blog hop is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. The brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh, our brilliant ninja leader.  To read posts from other members, click here.

This month's option question? Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters either by accident or on purpose?

I rewrote a scene the other day in which my character has an overwhelming shock. To make it feel real, I channeled two of my own experiences. The first? A day at work when someone got into my face in a way-over-the-top, completely unprofessional way. Since I was at work I couldn’t say what I was thinking, nor could I give into my impulse to lunge over my desk and throttle the—well, let’s use the word "antagonist." Somehow, I managed to keep my voice low and calm, all while my head threatened to explode and my vision got blurry. Blood pressure on high, I believe.

To that, I mixed in memories of fainting. I don’t make a habit of it, but there’s some kind of low blood sugar/pressure disposition in my family to faint. Similar to what happens to people before they get a migraine or seizure, I get a warning when I’m going to faint–an out of context feeling of intense dread. If that happens and I don’t get my head down fast, my vision starts to go wonky, dark stains drown out the light and, plop, I go down. Here’s the interesting part. I dream when I faint. I also get sick afterwards. 

I used those two examples in the following scene. You be the judge. 

“You think Ed had something to do with Trevor?” Marnie felt as if her organs had swollen, as if they’d burst out of her skin. The shed in front of her dissolved into black splotches. Afraid she was about to pass out, she squatted, ducking her head between her knees, bile bitter at the back of her throat. She fought for control but darkness carried her through mist and fog to a different land, a place where Trevor and Angelique still slept safe and alive in a tent behind her grape arbor.  
She had no idea how long it was until she became aware of the grass inhabiting the space between her feet, or Rosalie's strong arm holding her up off the ground. "Deep breaths," her sister said. Keep your head down. Let the blood get back in there."
Marnie lifted her head, repeating her earlier question. "Ed had something to do with Trevor?" Her voice sounded tinny. As if she spoke into a empty can.
Rosalie pushed her head down again. “I don’t know. I have no idea what that backpack was doing there. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. It threw me, but Vinnie and I both thought it made no sense to upset you until we had some idea what it was all about.”
As she crouched in front of Rosalie’s shed trying to fathom the discovery of her son’s missing backpack, she remembered the night she'd encountered Ed at the movies so long ago. Unable to control it any longer, she retched, losing her dinner. Rosalie held her head, her hands cool on Marnie’s hot forehead as she pulled herself up from her knees, coughing.

(Google is wonky today! No matter what I tried to do, I could not get that third to last paragraph to indent.)
How does your real life color your writing?