A personal view on writing

As writers, how much of us are in our work?

I started thinking about this when I spotted advance notice of a production of one of my plays. The play is ‘
Generations Apart’ which, of everything I’ve written, is probably one of my favourites. I found myself wondering why.

I’ve come to the conclusion that, either consciously or otherwise, there is a little bit of me, my background and my life in most of my plays. I can probably rule out the ‘Inspector Pratt’ trilogy as they are purely meant as a bit of whodunnit fun. I’ve certainly never been involved in that kind of murder and mayhem …. although some of my friends may have spotted elements of Pratt in my speech and actions!

Where I can most identify the influence of my personal life, though, is in my modern comedies. On close analysis I’ve noticed that, in most of them, at least one of the characters has some traits of how I perceive myself or, perhaps, how I believe others perceive me …. and maybe there’s quite a difference. Also, of course, as with most writers, many of my fictional characters are inevitably an amalgam of various people I know or have known. We simply transport them into a different world, take them out of their comfort zone or challenge them with situations or events.

All of which explains my soft spot for ‘Generations Apart’. As well as reflecting the abject failure of the ‘wannabe’ hippie element of my youth, there is much in the play which resonates with the way I perceived the world when I was a teenager. It was, in the main, wildly inaccurate of course …. that’s the prerogative of youth …. but it brings back many fond, embarrassing and occasionally painful memories.

So here’s a question to other writers out there. How often is one of your characters actually some kind of hybrid or representation of yourself?

Let’s also widen the question to include actors, audiences and readers. Is there a play or a novel which has particularly gripped you because you see much of yourself in one of the characters?

I’d love to read your thoughts on this .… please use the comments link below if you’d like to share them.

As to exactly which of the characters in my other plays have a little part of me in them, I’m keeping that to myself!