This month, The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is asking participants to posts photos of ourselves or our alter egos with any of the IWSG swag, or the logo. I edited two of my alter ego dolls into the T-shirt logo, one representing my good side and the other my dark side.

This month’s question is:

Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

As I’ve discussed before, Emeline Rosalie Troy of my contemporary historical family saga is strongly based on myself, though with some differences. For example, I only wish I’d gone to Vassar, I’ve never smoked pot, and I didn’t go right from undergrad to graduate school.

Emeline’s dysfunctional, one and only relationship is also strongly based on mine with my ex-“fiancé,” though I changed his name from Aleksey Smirnov to András Kóbor. I felt giving her a Russian boyfriend would resemble real life too closely, and I didn’t want to waste my favorite Russian male name on such a loser.

Writing the chapter “Halloween Wedding Gone Awry” in Justine Grown Up actually helped me to realize I needed to end my dead-end, dysfunctional relationship with Sergey. If my fictional dopplegänger could look at all this overwhelming evidence and realize it was long past time to walk away, for her own mental health and happiness, then I needed to do the same.

Many other aspects of my life and personality have seeped into my characters and writing over the years. I have a planned future post about how much of your real life to incorporate into your writing, and how to strike a balance between real-life inspiration and too much reality.


For only the second time ever, I had to blacklist a troll from commenting. I got a notification of a comment on a post about how not to write third-person omniscient, and it sounded so much like a prior comment on a similar post. My instinct was right.

I honestly don’t get why people who disagree so strongly with a blog post take the time to write rude comments like that. If you can’t agree to disagree in a civil fashion, or offer respectful constructive criticism, your time would be better-served reading posts you do agree with.

He’s left a lot of similar rude comments on many other writers’ blogs, all iterations of, “The one and only true way for me is massive infodumps, purple prose, telling instead of showing, and remorseless adverbs, and none of your fascist diatribes and dictates will ever force me to change.”

These are just some examples:



My classic horror film series continues on Friday with the lost 1922 Lon Chaney, Sr., film A Blind Bargain. Next week will feature two more Lon films, The Unknown and the lost London After Midnight (both 1927), and Hilde Warren und der Tod (1917).

How much do you sprinkle yourself into your stories? Have you ever dealt with trolls or people leaving rude comments? What would you say to a writer who insists on only doing things his or her way and rejects suggestions for improving his or her writing?

22 thoughts on “IWSG—Personal characters and a blacklisted troll

    1. As for what I’d say to a writer that insists they can’t be wrong, I’d just respond like one of the other people did: tell them to keep writing how they want to and leave it at that. The comments sounds like they’re looking to bait someone–and anyone who thinks they are better than established bestselling authors can’t be reasoned with. 😉 Like someone else mentioned, they’re an unknown and they’ll likely stay that way–squabbling in the comment section rather than getting any real work done.


    2. LOL that’s what I was thinking! By all means, have a strong opinion and go for it. Write your omniscient worldview and own it. It doesn’t mean other styles of writing are irrelevant.


  1. That troll sounds like a bored little person who is just trying to get a rise out of people. Most of the stuff they’re saying is so ridiculous it’s unbelievable. Seems more like a foot-stomping five year old than a writer. NO, I won’t do what you TELL ME! 😉


  2. There are people in this world who thrive on trollish behaviour. I wonder if these kinds of commenters are truly interested in writing/reading, or are simply bored and have nothing else to do in order to fill up their time?

    It’s great to read that your fictional dopplegänger paved the way for real-life action! Good for you!
    Happy IWSG Day! 🙂


  3. I haven’t had much in the way of problems with internet trolls. One like “Schillingklaus” seems kind of entertaining if you don’t take too much offensive to what they say. At least this troll is somewhat entertaining or provocative to some degree. Not sure what the point is in what they are trying to convey, but at least there’s no foul language which is something that I would immediately delete if it came my way.

    Tossing It Out


  4. Trolls are unhappy souls. Like rainfall, I just shrug and move forward. Love your avatars. 🙂 Victor Standish is how I wish I handled living on the streets.


  5. I like what you did with the shirt logo!

    I wonder if that person was legit or just having fun pushing writers’ buttons. The things he said was outrageous. Tell, don’t show? And he deprecates any closeness between reader and character? His stories would be bland and a chore to read.


    1. I checked out the fan fiction linked to in his profiles, and I was immediately turned off. His writing is awful, doing everything even elementary school kids are taught not to do!


  6. Nice picture. Love you dual self.
    That troll is such a dumb ass! He doesn’t wish to abide by the rules – fine, it’s his choice, but he doesn’t have to scream his stupidity to the whole world.


  7. Excellent photo! Very creative.

    There’s definitely a massive overlap between writing and real life for any writer, I think. One can help us make sense of the other and you articulated that.

    It doesn’t seem like that troll can be serious in what he’s saying, it’s just to wind people up. Who knows though? But wasting our time wondering about it is what he wants.


  8. Kristen Lamb’s response to him was great, haha! I haven’t been trolled this way at this time, but I’d block him, too (if I was able). As for writers who rant against the rules or won’t take constructive criticism, I just walk away. Nothing I can say will change their minds.


  9. I love the artwork in your contest entry! Beautiful.

    That troll is something else. I can hardly understand them. Block away.

    Your character Emeline sounds interesting. Is this a work-in-progress or a finished piece?

    I have no idea if my Dove is a Russian Blue since I got her at an animal shelter–so probably not.


    1. Emeline is in one published book so far, one of six sisters in the Troy family. The other two books she’s in are on hiatus, but I intend to return to them as soon as I can.


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