Using Life’s Experiences in Fiction Writing

Have you ever thought about the importance of your experiences when you write? While there is little doubt the way you experience life will have an effect if you decide to write a book of memoirs, it can do also provide a world of information for fiction. While you may not use the exact events or people, those experiences can add “feed for the fodder” by helping you formulate ideas you be put down to create a story. there are different experiences throughout your life that can play integral parts in your fiction writing.

While I do not do it all the time I have taken two distinct and unique events in my life as a teenager to create the basis for some of my writing. when I developed the basis for my short story “Beyond the Smile” i created the protagonist loosely from my experience as the girlfriend of a motorcycle gang member. the story is fictional and none of the events happened to me, but I created the personality of Joey Spinelli based on some of what I experienced with my ex-boyfriend. this includes Joey being on the run from the police in another state on murder charges.

In another instance I used a series of dreams I had  about my favorite rock star during my teens as the basis for a novel I am writing.  In the beginning it was very close to what was actually in those dreams but as I have made many changes in order to prevent most people from knowing who the actual star is, there is little resemblance to the original dreams. However, I created the hero totally on my teen idol and how I would have perceived myself living had we met and become romantically involved.

There are many ways you can fit daily events into your writing, and they don’t have to mirror those events. Many writers take a notebook with them and make notes of things they see that can help create a story. Since I don’t own a Blackberry, I tend to use text messaging on my cell phone to leave quick notes for myself if I don’t have a notebook. You can just jot quick notes that will help you remember what event occurred and how you want to develop that into a story, poem or novel. You want to look at everything that happens in your life as the topic sentence of your next work of fiction.

Advertisements

28 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. CW64
    Oct 29, 2009 @ 00:09:44

    First, thanks for the invite. I’m sorry it took me so long to get here.

    When it comes to writing, personal experiences tend to serve as the primary ‘resource’ for many writers. When reading fiction of any kind, one, if observant enough, can sense something about the writer, even in fantasy. This is what makes writing a personal thing when it comes to writing–presenting oneself in such creative yet realistic ways.

    Most of my work revolves around my personal experiences, but not to the most minute detail. “Write what you know” the saying goes, although one can certainly write fiction or non-fiction in accordance with research as well. For me, that would be certain eras in history, like the Titanic (ever since I was young), ghosts and the paranormal, and 60s Pop culture, just to name a few. Regardless, however, certain pieces of me, like my overall philosophy of life or my attitude towards a certain issue, will show through the writing, even in non-fiction. That, in my opinion, is inevitable.

    The personal signature, though, is not a bad thing. We, as writers, can be personal and objective at the same time, and it is my contention that those who can do so make the best writers because of their ability to be simultaneously commited and detached from their work. A ‘thick skin’ is necessary for writing success, but so is personal style, and THAT comes from recognizing and drawing on one’s own experiences.

    CW64

    Reply

    • Brenda Coxe
      Oct 29, 2009 @ 00:39:12

      to a certain degree it’s good to write what you know. Even though we can reserch those topics with which we are unfamiliar it can be time consuming. If we are writing for money and the pay is extremely low we certainly do not wish to take an excessive amount of time. think of it in terms of an hourly wage–if you are only getting $1/100 words, taking more than a half hour to write 500 words begins to be slave labor. Even at $10 an hour that is not a good wage for a writer but it is certainly a place to start.

      I love taking personal experiences and putting them into stories. Sometimes they may not even be personal experiences but ones I would hae enjoyed experiencing. Being creative allows us to take things and create a world of knowledge about an idea.

      Reply

  2. CW64
    Nov 03, 2009 @ 19:10:12

    Now you are summing the topic of discussion (i.e. the value of research as a writing resource) in terms of pay rate and the time put in conducting that research, whereas I was assessing the personal or general value of research in writing. Regardless of pay rate, research is an acceptable resource for background information in fiction AND non-fiction, simply because it renders important information for any writing, whether it be an informative article on the different stages of producing apply juice or a fictional account of someone who produces apple juice. In both cases, research in the area of apply juice production is viable and even necessary, even if pay rate is unthinkably low and time dedicated to the acquisition of that information is extreme or excessive.

    Reply

  3. Brenda Coxe
    Nov 03, 2009 @ 19:16:39

    it’s important to look at both aspects of it and not just one. Even if you are writing fiction thee is a point when the pay comes into the picture unless you write for a hobby. If you hope to make money from a project you still need to assess how much it is paying you in order to be able to analyze the total output and cost of what you are doing.

    Reply

    • CW64
      Nov 03, 2009 @ 20:44:45

      First, I already acknowledged that we disagree to a point, and I said that was okay.

      The whole primary idea of fiction is to create. That’s what draws writers to write fiction–they can create their own worlds and people to interact within those worlds. This realm is literally endless.

      You’re talking about fiction as a product to sell; I am referring to fiction as a means of creating.

      That is not saying that markability isn’t important. Most works will find an audience, but whether or not they do, or to what degree, that shouldn’t hinder or affect the creative process.

      Marketability will determine if the time should be dedicated to research and/or writing a piece, but that doesn’t mean that creating is or should be any less significant. Creativity and marketability are two separate entities–not integral–but both are important.

      Where did you hear that marketability plays an important role in the creative process?

      I’ll leave it here at this point, as I think I have already clarified my intentions. I don’t disagree with anything you have said, only that I was referring to another isolated topic–that of the value of creativity in its own right.

      Reply

  4. CW64
    Nov 03, 2009 @ 19:35:28

    Being creative allows us to take things and create a world of knowledge about an idea.

    Indeed, that it does, but both experience and research allow the writer to create convincingly, for without either one, the creation is weak and/or incoherent. Every form of writing draws on some resource, whether it be personal experience, research or some other means of accessing, extrapolating or gathering background information. That’s why I listed the different types of resources in the first place and why those resources are important in both fiction and non-fiction. Even fantasy and sci-fi fiction rely on some accumulation of information to help creatively spin a sensible yarn. It comes from within, so personal knowledge, beliefs and/or individual views play(s) a part in the creative process, whether consciously or unconsciously.

    For example, a female writer creating a story, or a series of stories, based on, say, a fictitious female knight obviously harbors strong feelings regarding the power of women and wishes to illustrate that in some manner. In this case, personal beliefs and/or views serve as at least one resource for the writing. A likely knowledge of the life of medieval knighthood is also going to be necessary for the creation as well, even if the story is not one of reality. A certain degree of realism is necessary in order for the story to be credible and make sense.

    Creativity, then, relies on some form of knowledge base.

    Reply

  5. Brenda Coxe
    Nov 03, 2009 @ 19:50:04

    of course it draws on some type of knowledge base and sometimes research is necessary. For example one of the posts on Mike’s list was about a book based in a town where the reader lived, and the author described it incorrectly. thus research would have paid off for her–or she should have used a fictitious town as I have down in most of my writing.

    Reply

    • CW64
      Nov 03, 2009 @ 20:59:04

      Yes, you told me about that. This, if I remember correctly, was one of the items that spurred off the discussion regarding research and its importance in writing.

      Is she planning to go back and research and revise?

      Reply

  6. CW64
    Nov 03, 2009 @ 19:52:39

    it’s important to look at both aspects of it and not just one. Even if you are writing fiction thee is a point when the pay comes into the picture unless you write for a hobby. If you hope to make money from a project you still need to assess how much it is paying you in order to be able to analyze the total output and cost of what you are doing.

    Not necessarily. In the writing of a coherent piece of work, whether it be an informative article or a work of fiction, these reseources hold a value in that they provide background knowledge necessary to make the work come to life. I am speaking of production–NOT marketing or selling.

    Yes, the marketing of fiction is contingent on some knowledge of how/where/whether or not the subject of the work will sell. That is a different phase writing publication altogether. I am referring solely to the creative process alone and the importance of resources necessary to assist in that creative process.

    It appears as if you and I either disagree or we are discussing two different aspects of the writing industry. Either way, that is okay. I am merely trying to focus on the creative process here, so even if I agree with what you’re saying regarding marketing (and I do, to some degree), I am veering away from that for the sake of the particular topic under discussion. The marketability of fiction need not necessarily be involved in the creative process.

    This is all I will venture to say on that particular aspect of the discussion.

    Reply

  7. CW64
    Nov 03, 2009 @ 19:54:44

    it’s important to look at both aspects of it and not just one. Even if you are writing fiction thee is a point when the pay comes into the picture unless you write for a hobby. If you hope to make money from a project you still need to assess how much it is paying you in order to be able to analyze the total output and cost of what you are doing.

    Not necessarily. In the writing of a coherent piece of work, whether it be an informative article or a work of fiction, these reseources hold a value in that they provide background knowledge necessary to make the work come to life. I am speaking of production–NOT marketing or selling.

    Yes, the marketing of fiction is contingent on some knowledge of how/where/whether or not the subject of the work will sell. That is a different phase writing publication altogether. I am referring solely to the creative process alone and the importance of resources necessary to assist in that creative process.

    It appears as if you and I either disagree or we are discussing two different aspects of the writing industry. Either way, that is okay. I am merely trying to focus on the creative process here, so even if I agree with what you’re saying regarding marketing (and I do, to some degree), I am veering away from that for the sake of the particular topic under discussion. The marketability of fiction need not necessarily be involved in the creative process.

    This is all I will venture to say on that particular aspect of the discussion.

    Reply

  8. Brenda Coxe
    Nov 03, 2009 @ 19:57:34

    We’re going to have to agree to disagree on that point because the whole idea of fiction is to write in a way that will sell thus the marketability of fiction is of great importance. For instance, if readers quit buying books of horror, there would be no reasons for writers to continue writing them even if it was their genre of choice–at least not if they were hoping to make money with their writing.

    Reply

    • CW64
      Nov 03, 2009 @ 21:06:32

      the whole idea of fiction is to write in a way that will sell thus the marketability of fiction is of great importance.

      In your opinion, what information on marketability should the writer know?

      Reply

  9. CW64
    Nov 03, 2009 @ 20:55:56

    Hey, I am all for making money with my writing. Heaven knows that I haven’t made top-dollar in the freelancing market, although the means are out there to make fairly decent pay if one looks hard enough. This is why research is always important, and knowing the different types of research is very important. Research skills should never be underrated or underestimated.

    Surviving is a necessary end unto itself for every writer, but getting paid what one is worth motivates one to continue writing.

    Reply

  10. Brenda Coxe
    Nov 03, 2009 @ 21:50:36

    My references are to those who create in order to sell not those who create just for the sake of creating. Certainly there are those who will write a book of fiction knowing it is not going to sell at that time, but they will hold it in their files until the timing is right for that genre or idea. However, those who write to make a living at it will combine the creative process with the current market in order to have the best of both worlds. There are also those who write for catharsis–never have any intention of selling the work but do it because it relates to something that has happened in their life and putting it on paper is therapeutic.

    Reply

  11. Brenda Coxe
    Nov 03, 2009 @ 21:54:25

    The book in question was already on the market and released. The writer who brought it up got the book to read and found the misinformation in it. In fact, I may have to change the name of the city in my novel because it is is a fictional city outside of NYC I call Forest park–had no idea at the time there really was a city by that name. I’ll have to do some research to make sure it isn’t in the same locale as in my book. I also didn’t know there was an Orange County, FL when I began beyond the Smile, but since I don’t reference any city, that shouldn’t be a problem.

    Reply

  12. Brenda Coxe
    Nov 03, 2009 @ 21:59:24

    Marketability in general falls into the area of defining your target audience which anyone who sells anything should do first. it’s not as easy to do in our field of course, but you do need to have some idea of what sells and how to get the information to the public. I am sure there are statistics on book sales–at least online–so you can get some kind of an idea how books similar to yours are selling. In addition with publishing only accepting 1-2% of the books they a receive, it’s important to make sure your book is not like all the others on the shelves.

    Reply

  13. super fast reply
    May 12, 2014 @ 23:15:37

    I’m gone to convey my little brother, that he should also pay a visit this
    web site on regular basis to take updated from latest reports.

    Reply

  14. happyblank.com
    Dec 31, 2014 @ 20:04:20

    I know this website presents quality depending content and extra stuff,
    is there any other web site which gives such information in quality?

    Reply

  15. spider man unlimited hack ios
    Jan 03, 2015 @ 01:02:49

    Hey! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any issues with hackers?
    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing months of hard work due to no
    data backup. Do you have any solutions to prevent hackers?

    Reply

    • Brenda Coxe
      Jan 14, 2015 @ 01:38:14

      I’ve been fortunate that I have not had any problem with hackers, but the best thing I can tell you is to make sure you maintain anti-virus protection, a good firewall, and both adware and malware.

      Reply

  16. Juli
    Jan 03, 2015 @ 03:20:57

    Why visitors still make use of to read news papers when in this
    technological world everything is presented on net?

    Reply

    • Brenda Coxe
      Jan 14, 2015 @ 01:36:37

      There are many people who prefer the printed word. For example, I prefer print books to e-books although I have read e-books and use them for research. In addition, you may find people who read both digital and electronic versions of newspapers and other similar material. For instance, my husband subscribes to a good many newspapers and magazines which he reads on his Kindle, but he also reads the print version of our daily newspaper. Not everyone wishes to give up the print versions simply because the technological advances allow for that option.

      Reply

  17. Jerri
    Jan 05, 2015 @ 14:40:45

    Heya i am forr the first time here. I came across this board annd I find It really useful & it helped me out much.
    I hope to give someting back and aid oothers like you aided me.

    Reply

  18. Muoi
    Jan 13, 2015 @ 11:36:29

    Hi there! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick
    shout out and say I really enjoy reading through your posts.
    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics?
    Thanks!

    Reply

    • Brenda Coxe
      Jan 14, 2015 @ 01:32:23

      The only thing I can suggest is to conduct some research in order to find forums/websites/blogs that meet your needs. I know I personally find this site and Blogspot excellent choices for finding quality writing-related blogs.

      Reply

  19. obat kutil kelamin herbal murah manjur
    Jun 06, 2016 @ 01:47:16

    It is really a nice and helpful piece of info. I am happy that you simply shared this useful info with us.
    Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

  20. pelicula breakaway
    Jun 17, 2016 @ 13:04:17

    Hello, I do think your web site could be
    having web browser compatibility issues. When I look at your
    site in Safari, it looks fine however whewn opening in Internet
    Explorer, it has some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to provide yoou with a quick heads up!
    Aside from that, wonderful website!

    Reply

  21. public masturbation
    Jun 20, 2016 @ 05:17:46

    What i do not understood is in reality how you’re not actually much
    more smartly-appreciated than you might be right now. You’re so intelligent.
    You already know thus considerably in the case of this subject, made me in my opinion imagine
    it from numerous varied angles. Its like women and men are not involved except it’s something to accomplish with Lady gaga!
    Your personal stuffs outstanding. Always handle it up!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: