One of our goals here at Today’s Author is to help all of the writers among us to do what we love to do: write. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by talking to each other and learning from each other. Our Writers Circle series is designed to do just that – provide a chance for us to discuss writing, editing and publishing questions.
This week’s topic is:
Do your stories include events or people from your real life in your works, either directly or in a fictionalized format?
Let’s discuss this in the comments and see what our community thinks.
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Both of my recent works contained at least elements of people I know in real life. Sometimes it was just a name that I used, or a personality trait. I don’t think I’d be able to keep those things out of my writing.
They do. One is biographical–my daughter’s struggle to get into USNA. My thrillers are military, often using my military children’s knowledge (since I have no first-hand experience).
Always, in some aspect. There is either an eye or hair color that remains the same, along with several personality traits or mannerisms. If a character has children there are either the same amount or the same age. It makes my feelings toward the story or characters much more personal, in the end.
Oh yes, I pick up so many ideas from events that happen to me, or just being in the right place at the right time. I also base some of my characters on people I have known for a long time and also some that may only enter my life briefly. I love to mix them all up and then come up with a story. My last short story, which was written from the prompt on here last Friday, was based on two people I know.
When you write about real people in a fictionalized way can they sue you?
They always say to “write what you know” and there’s definitely a reason. Its always easier to describe a situation that you’ve personally been in or characteristics and mannerisms of a person you know. You can literally see, feel and hear the environment. To be honest, I probably include real life more often than even I realize.
All of my stories include people and events I’ve witnessed or been involved with, but I make whatever changes are justified by the plot, location, time. Name change always as well as physical appearance and age, often a gender change. There’s an authenticity available and I like to take advantage of that.
My current work in progress MS has elements of both personal experience and people I know. The people (one in particular) are very heavily disguised, because he is, not to put too fine a point on it, completely loopy. The personal experience angle has been changed slightly, but the underlying truth is there. It wasn’t until I had written almost half the book that I realised what I was writing about. In some ways it made it harder and in other ways it gave me greater motivation.
Without a doubt. To be able to evoke strong emotions, in order to paint a vivid picture that comes to life in the readers mind, nothing works better that real experience. Having intense experiences allows you to pluck from those memories and transpose them into a fictional situation bringing it to life. There are some things you can imagine, but the reality is always multifaceted. Sometimes, using these experiences to create a story is like ripping out your soul and ringing every last drop out and spewing it onto a page. Sometimes to really get the reader to feel it, it’s a bit like method acting, you need to experience the feelings within yourself, without necessarily acting out your characters role, all over again whilst you are writing it. For many writers, it makes a collection of unpleasant memories worthwhile in some perverse way! You’ve always got something real to draw upon. But then again, sometimes a daft sense of humour can also lead you some off the wall ideas too 🙂
Most Certainly, Growing up on the bank’s of North Carolina and working in the Commercial fishing industry I met some most colorful character’s along the way and some of the funniest situation’s also now that I have time to put it all down In my first book The Coast of Carolina where my 2 Brother’s and me loved, laughed , and lived we are very blessed!!!