When I was younger, my mom told me one of the secrets of the Denver Museum of Natural History that made it fun for any kid to go. One of the backdrop painters had a unique signature to his paintings. Somewhere in his paintings he would add a gnome, and it was always placed in interesting places. This made it a game to find it, and kids found the museum interesting.
In movies, Steven Spielberg is always adding a little joke about a previous movie in all of his movies. Nora Ephron even put the name of a desert in one of her movies as a dating ritual, just so that people would ask her about it.
Artists of every kind will put something personal in something they do. Sometimes it’s an inside joke, and sometimes it’s sentimental, but if you look closely, you might be able to spot it. Writers are no different.
I’ve notices some writers I’ve talked to think it’s a cheap trick, so they say they don’t do it, yet I’ve caught a couple of them at it. To illustrate this, I’m going to give mine away in the book I’m writing, there will be others but this is just fun.
Those who are regulars on youtube will recognize the name Shay Carl. In my book, there will be a restaurant named “Chez Carl’s”. Only those who watch youtube will get that. I’m always using people I know (their names mostly) and parts of my past.
The point is this, if you write, don’t be afraid to slip something personal in your writing. It makes it more fun for you, and makes it a game for your readers to figure it out.
Challenge: Pick something personal, (a favorite food, or a photograph…) and try to slip it into a paragraph where people have to look for it. It’s a fun exercise.