I saw this question being asked and it lead me to wonder something.... It seems that self inserting your.... person is not considered good practice or should be kept to a minimal. So my question piggybacks off of the one linked with this in mind:

Would self Inserting be okay if it has influence from your life experience and stories and may even mimic elements of your life/past without making it blatantly obvious?

In my story I have my main character based on a few factors... My online persona used in RPG games as well as elements/experiences of my personal life. I am not rich by any means but I was born into a family that was not living paycheck to paycheck. So my main character, I wanted him to be born of royalty which I am not. My main character I would like to struggle in his youth with several aspects of his life like I have but in a fantasy aspect. Say I had issues learning a particular instrument, my main character struggles to learn how to properly sword fight or refuses to do his studies. One of the big plot points I want to hit is where the MC has a "falling to earth" and denounces the bloodline of his family/chooses to live a more simple life. While I didn't run away or denounce my family, I didn't follow in my dad's foot steps like he wanted in an attempt at enjoying the more simple things that life has to offer. So there are many similarities to my life, but I don't believe that if a friend were to read it, they would go, this story is about you. I would mask it in a way that the events are twisted around to match the story rather than be a direct relation to things that happened in my life. For one, I can't say that my character likes rock music because that simply doesn't go with the genre. I can't say that my character likes pizza because again that wouldn't fit into the genre of high fantasy. So am I on the right track to using personal experience while masking it is about me or do I need to reconsider how I am going about this?

EDIT: I saw someone write about how you need to be brutally honest with yourself. For those that know me well, know that I am overly critical of myself. I by no means want to glorify myself into a fantasy tale but rather use life experiences to interject into the story. I have been through quite a lot in my life, and in some ways, more than what someone should for my age. So I have experienced a lot, done a lot of self reflection, and have a lot to draw on for a well rounded character IMHO.

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    I have read countless satisfying books that were directly or indirectly about some version of the author and his or her life. Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 3:09

2 Answers 2


There's a difference between using elements of real life to help you shape a character and creating a Mary Sue. Drawing on reality, and autobiography, is fine, as long your characters — all of them — are rounded and realistic, with flaws and strengths.

This is more than "a knight in high fantasy can't have a fondness for rice balls and Van Halen." It means that your character has to have his or her own arc, motivation, backstory, and personality. It means s/he has to be wrong sometimes, and lose sometimes, before winning at the end.

If you're concerned, write your story and then do an editing pass where you just focus on fine-tuning that particular character to make sure he is himself and not you.

  • Thanks for your reply Lauren!! I think you also remember, my last question I asked about man kind losing and being flawed. This would be a part of that same story. There will be their own story unique to my own full of being wrong and flawed. I didn't want to write a story in which the MC is basically a god but rather an introspection about my own flaws and short comings applied in a fantasy setting used to develop a character that can grow.
    – ggiaquin16
    Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 20:54

Besides what @LaurenIpsum mentioned, one can also create a self-insert in order to deal with personal issues through writing, in a cathartic way.

This type of self-insert can either go the way of wish-fulfilling (which can easily, although not always, slide into 'Mary Sue-ness'), where the character oversomes the issues, or it can go the way of accepting ones lot and flow with it (less likely to slide into 'Mary Sue-ness').

In this scenario, you can either use an alter-ego or even write yourself straight into the story, creating a sort of alternative reality. For as long as the fictional world and cast is not bending itself to accomodate the self-insert's wishes, all should go well.

  • Hey! Sorry for my late response but I wanted to reply when I had a moment to actually write something out :) That is actually a part of the reason I want to do it in such a way. As a way for me to... release the past. I was thinking of a mixture of... accepting some flaws as things I cannot change, and working to change on the things that the character could change. It would be mostly based on my alter ego of my online RPG character that I play.
    – ggiaquin16
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 15:20

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