Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Using what you live to deepen character conflict

"That will end up in a book."

If you spend any time around a writer you will hear that phrase. That is because so much of our writing is drawn from our personal experiences in one way or another. While most of my stories are not autobiographical [I don't stalk women based on a misinterpreted scripture, nor am I a college student in a small town trying to solve a murder], I have to admit that things that I experience do find their way in to my writing in one way or another.

Maybe it is the way I personally reacted to a breakup or disappointment. It could be that one of my characters is afraid of the same thing I am. These are all obvious and easy to do.

Have you ever considered bringing the dual nature of your personality in to your writing?

I am really a dichotomy. On the one hand, I am a successful speaker who really enjoys speaking to large groups. On the other hand, I am a total nerd who gets excited at the idea of doing research and looked forward to every term paper in college. My idea of a dream job would be sitting in a room full of ideas, articles, news reels, historical data, etc. and making sense of it all. Pecking away at a keyboard and discussing the implications with a coworker of similar temperment. Trying to find a pattern and constructing possible scenarios from it.

How do you reconcile the two? One is extremely extroverted, the other introverted. One thrives on feedback and the energy of a crowd, the other the quiet solitude of one's own thoughts.

I guess you become a writer. That's what I did.

Think about the contradictory things in you. Then take time to discover and deepen the contradictory nature of your main characters [including your villain]. Doing that will deepen your writing and create a more relatable story.

The Writing Career Coach blog is moving! In order to offer you more services and a central location for all information I am moving this blog to our main website: There you will find the blog, information on my speaking topics, FREE articles to help you with your writing and more.

Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at

Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.

Tiffany is a National Examiner. Read her articles here.

Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.

Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.

Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.

She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.


Jan Cline said...

I love this post. I can really relate to the issues you spoke of. I love speaking, but yet I also love not talking when I don't want to! I am excited to go through my WIP and deepen the characters by interjecting the essence of my own experience. The links are great - thank you.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

As I'm writing, a favorite saying of a loved one, my color preferences, or some other detail jump from my brain to the page.

Great post, Tiffany! I'll keep your tips in mind for my current WIP.

Susan :)

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter said...

Thanks Jan and Susan. I am glad my posts are helpful.

And I will tell my assistant, Tess, how helpful the links are. She does those for me and I think she does a really great job.

Anonymous said...

Undertake further responsibilities that may evolve in the top essays future. Reporting to HR manager.