Author Self-Insertion vs #ownvoices

Self-Insertion vs #ownvoices

In recent years, there has been a push for #OwnVoices stories – stories where the author shares the same marginalized identity as the characters they are writing. The idea behind this movement is to increase representation and authenticity in literature. However, this push for #OwnVoices has led to an unfair stigma against self-insertion in writing.

Self-insertion is when an author puts themselves, or a version of themselves, into their story. It’s often looked down upon as lazy or egotistical writing, but the truth is that a little bit of self-insertion can actually improve #OwnVoices writing.

No two people’s experiences are exactly the same, even if they share the same marginalized identity. When an author writes a character based solely on their own experiences, they run the risk of portraying a narrow, stereotypical view of that identity. This is where self-insertion comes in: by drawing on their own experiences, an author can create a more nuanced and realistic character.

Of course, there is a fine line between self-insertion and appropriation. It’s important for authors to do their research and listen to feedback from sensitivity readers to ensure that they are not perpetuating harmful stereotypes or speaking over the experiences of others.

But we shouldn’t dismiss self-insertion altogether. It can be a valuable tool for creating authentic and relatable characters, especially in #OwnVoices writing where representation is so important. It’s also worth noting that self-insertion doesn’t have to be literal – no one’s expecting that only people who have fought dragons can write about fighting dragons. But an author can draw on their own emotions and reactions to a situation to create a more realistic portrayal of their character’s experiences, even if it’s in a scenario that’s unfamiliar to them.

While self-insertion may have a negative connotation, it can be a valuable tool in creating authentic and nuanced characters in #OwnVoices writing. Of course, as with all writing, it’s important to approach the topic with sensitivity and do the necessary research and sensitivity reading to ensure that it doesn’t cross the line into appropriation. But by embracing self-insertion as a tool rather than dismissing it outright, we can create more authentic and diverse stories.


About Nemo

A lover of kittens and all things sparkly, Nemo has a degree in English Literature and specialises in reviewing contemporary, paranormal, mystery/thriller, historical, sci-fi and fantasy Young Adult fiction. She is especially drawn to novels about princesses, strong female friendships, magical powers, and assassins.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,833 other subscribers