It’s Me… Sort of

This woman is all dressed up, makeup on and hair done, just so she can sit down and write. Definitely not my style, although part of me wishes I took better care of myself. Image from

Our Friday Fox asked, “Do your characters tend to have skills that you have yourself? Do you write about people who do things that you wish that you could manage?”

The answer to both questions is YES. 

Almost all of my main characters share at least one skill in common with me. Several are musicians, many of them are teachers, and several enjoy sewing, cooking and writing. Since I’m familiar with these activities, it’s easy for me to write about my characters engaging in them. 

On the other hand, creating characters allows me to explore skills and interests outside of my world. Every now and then, I’ll create a character with occupations that I’ve had NO experience in. That’s when I have to dig into my network of acquaintances and find someone who does whatever it is my character has to do. Last week, author Elizabeth Devlin described her meeting with a group of oceanographers. I’ve had similar conversations with an ice sculptor, a realtor, and a policeman. 

As for the second question, there are many things my characters do that I wish I could manage.

  • I think most authors like to give their characters the words they wish they had the presence of mind to say in certain situations. While I’m pretty good at multi-tasking and doing things, I’m not always the best at coming up with the right words to say. I often forget to express thanks, sympathy, or congratulations (maybe that’s why I make and send out so many cards!), and I never have an adequate retort when I’m put down. My characters, on the other hand, are much more eloquent, unless they’re not meant to be. 
  • I like to eat, which is quite evident in my appearance. Many of my characters have a lot more willpower than I do.
  • As a result of their superior willpower, my characters are quite healthy and athletic, even when they’re middle aged or more. They don’t grimace and groan after going up and down stairs. They don’t insist to their grandchildren that games are played at the kitchen table due to aching knees. I haven’t yet had a character who had to run out to buy a new outfit because she had nothing that fit. Although, that would make for an interesting turn of events…
  • My characters seem to be better organized than I am. They don’t seem to spend a lot of time looking for things that only a moment ago were right in front of them.

I suppose that in a way, many of the characters we create are versions of ourselves. Sometimes they reflect our personal challenges or triumphs. Sometimes they help us to deal with trauma or grief. And sometimes, they reflect the person that we aspire to be. 

About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page:
This entry was posted in author's life, characters, Fantasy vs Reality, Life, Patricia Kiyono, romance, The Author Life. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to It’s Me… Sort of

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    “Better organized” than YOU? Good grief. As I believe I’ve said many times, you are among the most organized creative person I know. [Caveat: I know many people who are super-organized, but not the least bit creative… so sometimes those emphases seemingly cancel each other out.] But your creativity does not seem diminished by a high level of organizational ability.


    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      You are too kind! I do manage to find things I need before I need them, but I think I waste way too much time looking. Usually, what I’m looking for is right in front of me, but underneath something else – or I forgot to put my glasses back on and it got camouflaged.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Elaine Cantrell says:

    I can so relate to giving your characters words you wish you had thought of in a particular situation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Isn’t it frustrating to think of the right words to say after it’s too late? Having our characters say them helps a little, I think.


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