Literary Blog Hop for April

Book Rhapsody LogoThe Literary Blog Hop is hosted at The Blue Bookcase. I’ve always been checking this one out, but this is my first time to participate. I’ll try my best to make this a regular thing.

I remember telling one of my bookish friends that I’ll be joining this on my birthday month, and I think she also did the same. So yes, you are now free to call me a copycat.

Enough of that already. Here’s the question:

Literary Blog HopHow do you feel about fictional characters who are obviously closely based on the author? Is this an example of authorial superego? Or just a natural extension of the “write what you know” advice?

First, about what I feel: It still depends on how the characters are portrayed. A character resembling the author or any real person does not necessarily make him or her interesting. On a larger scale, the same is true with novels based on real life events. I do not mind though wherever the author draws the inspiration for the characters. It’s more about the execution.

Second, about the superego versus the write-what-you-know advice: I think it could be either. Oh well, let me explain. Sometimes, a writer may unconsciously portray a character without taking heed of the advice. Although the superego does not always reside in the subconscious, little slips occur here and there. This I was told when I attended a creative writing workshop years ago.

My characters were portrayed differently from the way I wanted them to act. I was told that I may be writing subconsciously, which can be crippling and which I have to curb and control. I was not told how it could be done, but anyway, I no longer write fiction. Maybe in the future. Let’s see.

On second thought, maybe a writer, a published writer, is quite trained in controlling subconscious writing, probably through constant practice and editing. It could then be said that they are merely writing what they know, no? But really, that is not a teeny piece of advice; it’s a must if one wants to create beautiful and solid literature.

Anyway, I don’t really know many characters based on the author. You see, I don’t really do background research on books and authors. I just dive straight to the text. Whatever information that I get in the introductions, if any, satisfies me. And when I find some interesting info about books and authors, particularly from overthinking bookish friends, I feel like an imp ooh-ing and aah-ing.

Now, I am reminded of my favorite author, David Mitchell. His Black Swan Green is semi-autobiographical. And then there’s Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer also based on the author’s life. I loved the former, and the latter is ugh, so far the worst book that I ever read. Do you see what I’m saying now?