The Insecure Writer’s Support Group ~ No#70

Purpose: 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!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time.

The awesome co-hosts for the October posting of the IWSG are: Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Jennifer Hawes, and Tamara Narayan!

Don’t forget to visit them and thank them for co-hosting!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.


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The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Writing for Profit Is Now Available!




ISBN: 9781939844453 FREE
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo




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A reminder that today is Show Us Your Writer Insecurity.  Post a photo of yourself (or your alter ego) with any of the IWSG swag or with the IWSG logo. Then leave a comment at either the IWSG website’s post or the IWSG Facebook post, directing us to your photo. (All blog, Facebook, Goodreads, and newsletter members welcome, but photo must be posted on a blog or Facebook to qualify.)

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Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.
Remember, the question is optional!

 OCTOBER 04th QUESTION: Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

Not to my knowledge.
Though I’m sure lots of writers give their book characters personality traits based on people they know in real life. Maybe it’s not such a bad idea, as long as you mix the personal information with “manufactured” information…a mish-mash!

Happy IWSG Day! I’m off to visit some blogs and also check out some Insecurity Photos on our facebook page!


  1. Pat Garcia on October 4, 2017 at 11:40 am

    Thanks for letting me know the IWSG book for profit is out. I will check to see if it is free on Amazon Germany.
    Wishing you a great month.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

  2. L. Diane Wolfe on October 4, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    General things, yes. It’s hard not to slip in a little bit of us.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 5, 2017 at 10:14 am

      If writing is an extension of self, then how is it possible that personal stuff won’t slip in?

  3. Rachna Chhabria on October 4, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Hi Michelle, I tend to give my characters a few of my traits which are general in nature, nothing too personal.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 5, 2017 at 10:14 am

      I’m sure that’s inevitable for most writers. Not a bad thing, either. 🙂

  4. Christine Rains on October 4, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    I slip in things from everywhere here and there in my stories. I’ve been enjoying the pictures today!

    • Michelle Wallace on October 5, 2017 at 10:16 am

      It works because your story-world and characters, are complex and interesting.

  5. Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor on October 4, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    Looking forward to reading the new IWSG book! Thanks for flagging it up.

  6. Patsy on October 4, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    It’s a tricky balance – we want characters to seem real, with making them biographical.

  7. Carrie-Anne on October 4, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    I frequently draw inspiration from my own life, though I’ve evolved past basing characters and settings too strongly on their real-life counterparts. It’s best to have an initial basis on a real person, place, or event, and then imbue it with its own character. I once read a mediocre novel in verse about the year 1965, and was even more turned off to it when a friend of the author responded to my Amazon review by saying it was a barely-fictionalized memoir of the author and her friends in 1965. No wonder it fell so flat!

    • Michelle Wallace on October 5, 2017 at 10:20 am

      An initial base on reality…and then imbued with its own flavor sounds like a good way to develop people/places/events.

  8. Alex J. Cavanaugh on October 4, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    I didn’t add anything personal either. Besides, I don’t want to write about me. I’m not that exciting.

  9. Patricia Lynne on October 4, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    You need a friend to read all your stories and tell you if you’re in any of them since you can’t tell.

  10. Anna on October 4, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    Mish mashing can be dangerous if the person sees themselves in the work. 🙂

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    • Michelle Wallace on October 5, 2017 at 10:25 am

      Oooh, gotta be careful then. Don’t want to get into trouble.

  11. Krystal Jane on October 4, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    I didn’t know the book was out! How exciting!

    Using real things is great if someone is writing a memoir, but in the fiction world, I’m a believer in not purposely inserting things into my story. I like it to happen naturally.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 5, 2017 at 10:27 am

      The natural and organic unfolding of the story is best, I suppose.
      Can’t hurt to add one/two character traits from a real-life person?

  12. Olga Godim on October 4, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    I don’t put people I know in my fiction, but I use situations and bits of dialog all the time.

  13. Carol Kilgore on October 4, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    I use things, but my characters are way more exciting than I am.

  14. Ryan Carty on October 4, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    A mish mash of things indeed. I certainly used to fall into the trap of making all my protagonists very much like me. Lucky for me, I figured out that wasn’t a good thing.

  15. Shannon Lawrence on October 4, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    A mishmash is best! I’ve several times had people ask if one of my characters was based on them. It never was. So whether we do it or not, people in our lives will think we did.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 5, 2017 at 10:32 am

      That’s another perspective… a family member insisting that there’s a sense of familiarity about your story character, when that particular individual may have been the furthest from your mind while you were crafting the characters.

  16. Nick Wilford on October 4, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    Great answer… “Not to my knowledge”. I think a lot of our character traits will come out in our work subconsciously. It’s an extension of who we are, after all.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 5, 2017 at 10:33 am

      I don’t think you can escape it… not totally.

  17. Natalie Aguirre on October 4, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    I just got the new IWSG anthology. Hope it’s going to help me with my marketing insecurities. Thanks for shouting out about it.

  18. Hilary Melton-Butcher on October 5, 2017 at 6:08 am

    Hi Michelle – I think we all agree with you … even I write a little into my blog posts which ‘tell’ my character occasionally!! Enjoy the Facebook links … cheers Hilary

    • Michelle Wallace on October 5, 2017 at 10:35 am

      Hilary, as I’ve mentioned before, I recognize your style from the way you craft your blog posts. A distinct and informative voice. 🙂

  19. Angela Wooldridge on October 5, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Hi Michelle,
    Thanks for the heads up on the IWSG books, I’ll have to go have a browse

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2017 at 6:01 pm

      Hope you enjoy the view from your ‘new location’… and make lots of new friends! 🙂

  20. Erika Beebe on October 5, 2017 at 11:12 am

    I create my characters and breathe the living world from what I know and what I’ve witnessed inside of them. Have a lovely rest of your week Michelle 🙂

  21. Meka James on October 5, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    I use traits from those around me. Situations I’ve seen or heard about. It helps bring the characters to life and make them feel more well rounded.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2017 at 6:04 pm

      Yep, there’s nothing wrong with including some personality traits based on real people. As you mentioned, it makes them into three-dimensional characters.

  22. Joey on October 5, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    People might be a bit put off if they recognized their negative qualities in a friend’s novel. Of course, it would take extraordinary self awareness to see one’s own faults. So maybe that’s what keeps us reality based writers safe.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2017 at 6:05 pm

      Nice to meet another reality-based writer, Joey! 🙂

  23. Lynda Dietz on October 5, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    I think with me being an editor/blogger, my situation is different, because if you read my blog, you know who I am. I can’t help but be myself when I write, and I would never be able to keep up with an Internet persona that was different from the real me.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2017 at 6:07 pm

      I don’t think any blogger can mask who they really are…it comes out in the online interaction/writing. 🙂

  24. Liesbet on October 5, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    I thought most fiction writer put some personal traits or experiences in their novels. Your imagination must be soaring, Michelle! That’s awesome. Thanks for sharing the IWSG book news.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2017 at 6:08 pm

      I just need to get those ideas onto paper… and finish some projects!

  25. Donna McNicol on October 5, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    A little of this, a dash of that – hard to not mix in some real life characters, experiences and things about me. Great post!
    DB McNicol, author

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2017 at 6:10 pm

      Donna, with your travel experiences and the numerous places you’ve visited, I’m sure you’re never short of writing ideas… or character ideas! 🙂

  26. Toi Thomas on October 5, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I like what you said about mixing the real and fake information. I think a good “mish-mash” is the way to go.

  27. Deniz on October 6, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    I think a mish-mash is definitely necessary, otherwise what happens if a friend reads the book and doesn’t like how they’re portrayed? 😛

  28. Lee Lowery on October 6, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    New IWSG book downloaded! Awesome. I definitely use personal information in bits and pieces in all of my characters. But never complete individuals.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 8, 2017 at 7:11 am

      Good idea to use bits and bobs…one can’t really avoid including personal info.

  29. Cathrina on October 7, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    Hi, Michelle. I do add in certain traits and things of people I know. I people watch for actions too. And to get a handle of my main characters, I usually picture someone, and usually it’s an actor or actress to make it work for me….heheee…but know one would ever know.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 8, 2017 at 7:12 am

      You’ve obviously mastered the art of including real-life pieces of info and making it blend in…

  30. Lisa on October 7, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    Just ordered the IWSG book!! Thanks for the heads up, and for dropping by!


  31. Yvonne V on October 8, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    Using a mish-mash protects the innocent. 🙂

  32. Doreen McGettigan on October 9, 2017 at 2:13 am

    I’m looking forward to reading the new anthology! You made me laugh, “Not to my knowledge.” I’m sure we all do it without even realizing it.

  33. Leslie S Rose on October 11, 2017 at 2:46 am

    “Slipped” information? “Shot it out of a water cannon” would be closer to the truth.

  34. Mary Aalgaard on October 11, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Oh yes, my characters are influenced by real people. I couldn’t make up all the quirks and habits that people have!

  35. Joey on October 12, 2017 at 12:40 am

    I love to tell stories and I have trouble getting into one when I don’t have personal experience with it. Perhaps I’m not imaginative enough for true fiction!

  36. Tara on October 13, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    I don’t use personal stuff but there’s probably something of me in all my characters–or at least something I identify with.

  37. Mina B on October 13, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    Hi Michelle, The writing for profit books sounds awesome. Looking forward to reading that one. 🙂

  38. J.H. Moncrieff on October 13, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    The contest was a really cute idea. Glad to see it went so well.

    Thanks so much for the kind words you left on my post.

  39. Tamara Narayan on October 13, 2017 at 11:04 pm

    Finally saw the winner’s of the photo contest–congrats you three! That was fun.

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