Using Life Experiences in Your Fiction
This first anniversary of Writers Epic makes me think back a year to when it all began – what I had planned to write about and what advice I could give to aspiring writers. I think about that year and see how the events of my life have affected my writing. Not just in this blog, but in the fiction that I continually work on. I remember thinking that my life has nothing extraordinary enough about it to consider it “epic.” But considering the events in this past year alone – in the milestones, in the steps forward and the pushes back, in the changes, and the surety of the things that never change – it doesn’t have to be “epic” to be an exciting story.
I would not write a novel based solely on my life, nor would I write one that’s a completely true story, but the events of my life influence my settings, my characters, and my plots in a way that my life becomes woven into my stories.
The characters I create have different aspects of myself apparent within them. My settings often reflect my hometown and all its charms. Some of the events of my stories are things that happened to me, but my characters react differently than I did. Some of the events are the way I sometimes wished things could have happened. And some of them are pure fiction.
It’s like my novel is my story with a disclaimer: this story is true, but some of the events were changed to make it more interesting.
And while writing my experiences into my fiction, I feel a range of emotions from joy to sadness. I have literally cried over the keyboard while transferring sad events from my own life into my characters’ lives. I have also laughed with my characters while giving them my happy memories. And when it comes to the reading and revising stage, I feel the most sense of satisfaction in knowing that my life events have intertwined with my fiction to create something extraordinary.
Don’t be afraid to use your experiences in your writing. Using your experiences in your writing can help your story feel more real, can touch more readers, and ultimately, make the story “epic.”