Finding a little bit of the Author in their Work

Discuss the March 2017 Book of the Month, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.
Scerakor
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Finding a little bit of the Author in their Work

Post by Scerakor »

An author writes what they know. Sometimes, this very fact lends itself so well to the work that it becomes more and more real. In this book, you can see that Emily St. John Mandell has an easy handle on three different physical locations: and island in BC, Toronto, and New York. A little bit of research here shows that this is in fact due to some of the main places that she has lived. Similarly, some of the topics she uses (theatre, music, etc) are equally relevant.

I love seeing examples of how a bit of the author comes out in their books, whether intentionally or not. Hemmingway was an alcoholic, most characters in his books drink a lot; George R.R. Martin's descriptions of feasts lead me to believe that he is an individual that likes his food; and the list goes on.

What are your favourite examples of authors leaving a little bit of themselves in their works? What do you think would come out about yourself if you wrote a book (or if you already have)?
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Post by Aimy »

It's true writings do tell about their authors. It's either personal experience that is reflected in the stories or a thorough research.
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Post by Rebeccaej »

Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman, has a subplot with a character who sings quite well, but has horrible stage fright. It doesn't end with him learning to be less afraid. He learns how to be terrified and do it anyway.

It's a lot more touching when you learn that Gaiman, for all that he travels the world giving public readings and speeches, still has so much performance anxiety he sometimes vomits before he goes onstage. That whole subplot was about himself.

For myself--I can't help but notice how many of my characters have autistic traits, and how often they talk to plants or objects, due to not having enough meaningful contact with other people.
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Post by Scerakor »

Rebeccaej wrote:Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman, has a subplot with a character who sings quite well, but has horrible stage fright. It doesn't end with him learning to be less afraid. He learns how to be terrified and do it anyway.

It's a lot more touching when you learn that Gaiman, for all that he travels the world giving public readings and speeches, still has so much performance anxiety he sometimes vomits before he goes onstage. That whole subplot was about himself
Great example. You just reminded me of another similar example. Slaughterhouse V means so much more Knowing that Vonnegut was actually in the Dresden bombings of WWII.
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Post by Donnavila Marie01 »

If will write a book, it will narrate the places of my exposure, the challenges I faced when I was growing and the challenges I experienced as I finish my formal education. I love authors who perfectly describe their past because this helps me live with the great people in the past.
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Post by Vickyoreo86 »

When I write I do it with absolute freedom, yet in life I am far more quiet and haven't got a very dominant personality and tend to like putting smiles on others faces. So I give my characters a strength I would love to have, physically and emotionally and personality. So maybe I am giving them the person I want to be myself...

In books I have found Laurell K Hamilton, who writes dark urban fantasy erotica/horror often states she allows her characters to have and love multiple partners because in her real life she and her husband...um share?...with two of their best friends. The four of them love and trust each other. There is a name for it, I just can't remember it.

I think many writers add a little piece of themselves to the characters they create but I also think they add a piece, maybe, of who they would like to be also.

-- 27 Mar 2017, 04:09 --

Ah found it! Polyamory it is typically the practice of, or desire for, intimate relationships where individuals may have more than one partner, with the knowledge and consent of all partners

And so she gives her main character Anita this belief also....
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Post by Amagine »

I've come to realize that Dr. Seuss affects my childrens stories because I sometimes find myself writing short rhymes like him or making up words. I usually leave my rhymes alone but if I catch myself making up words, I rewrite the that part of the story immediately.
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I think one of the best things about reading books is that you get to experience a drop of what the author feels, has experienced and is sharing.
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Post by bookowlie »

I read a little about Anthony Doerr, the author of All the Light We Cannot See, after reading the book. I can see how he included a bit of himself in the book. The author likes doing puzzles as a hobby and the main character's father gives her little treats inside little puzzle-style boxes or containers. It's a fun thing as she has to figure out how to get to the treat inside. The other main character in the story likes tinkering mechanically and teaches himself to fix radios and other electronics. The author's mother was a science teacher and encouraged him to tinker with things.
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Post by James Craft »

This definitely happens when authors create characters, and the most real characters have a shred of the author in them.
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Post by Christina O Phillips »

Most writers do put themselves in their works.

Someone already mentioned that LKH puts polyamory in her Anita Blake books; she was with her first husband and they started having problems as her novels grew darker. Now she is with her second husband and they, like her characters, practice polyamory.

I don't know if you'd count this, but Stephen King has written his stories based on his own personal fears, so that's a case where who the author is leads to inspiration.
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Post by hailvilla18 »

One of the literary approaches is biographical approach. The author writes his or her own experience or events he witnessed in his surrounding. I appreciate works that use this approach. It is very realistic and I learn a lot from someone else's experience.
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The first authors that spring to mind would be Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear, whose archaeology and anthropology expertise led to their First North Americans series - I can't put these books down.
If I had to write anything I would sublimate on purpose, but definitely, I'd bring in art and art history in some way.
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Post by AA1495 »

James Craft wrote:This definitely happens when authors create characters, and the most real characters have a shred of the author in them.
I agree. They can describe emotions and experiences better when they've felt it themselves.
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Post by Books_are_Life »

This is so true in every book you can find the author. If I wrote a book what would come into play is living with extreme amount of pain or the wheelchair or even both.
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