Everything in Life Is “Writable” About

97bb327cf4cb4afe9ec1242699591388I love this quote by Sylvia Plath.

However, I have to acknowledge that the challenge of this – the self-doubt that can creep in by lifting the curtain and writing about experiences and people based in reality – was part of why Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven took so long for me to write. It’s loosely autobiographical, and the “bones” of the book are inspired by true experiences, feelings, and in some cases, people.

I learned that it definitely take some guts to fictionalize these real people, events, and experiences, and I faced a number of roadblocks (from myself and a few others), along the way. Sometimes it’s the worry of offending someone. Other times it’s the self-doubt about “getting it right” and capturing the feeling and moment the way I think it deserves.

It took me quite a long time to keep working the characters and situations in my head, to crystalize the important elements – the essence – of those events and people, but to also ensure that they remained fictional, as opposed to what they would be if I was writing a memoir as opposed to a novel.

Although it wasn’t easy, I also think it yielded a deeper sense of truth and emotion in the writing, for me at least. That this novel is based in reality gives it a foundation I know is authentic. I don’t need to question certain aspects of it as much as I would a book I was writing that contained entirely imagined characters and events.

Have any of you ever incorporated real life events into a work of fiction? Was the entire work based upon these things, or just a scene or two?

Have any of you read works that do this (that you know of)? Is there a difference for you in the reading experience, when you know that the author based it on real life experiences?

 

 

6 thoughts on “Everything in Life Is “Writable” About

  1. A fairly large percentage of even my fiction work is grounded in something from my “real” life – whether it be an event, character, setting, or what have you. The hardest thing for me to learn was that just because a story is based on something true, that doesn’t mean I have to be faithful to it in fiction. I know it sounds silly, but I’ve really had a hard time making that break. “No, no, that’s not what he actually said” or even “That’s not what I was wearing!” I have to constantly remind myself that it’s okay – it’s fiction. It doesn’t have to be true to life – and inevitably the story turns out better if I force myself to let go of the reality.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! that’s exactly how I feel, Lori. It took me a long time to be able to remind myself that I only needed to represent what happened in so far as I wanted to/needed to for the fiction. Some of it is indeed spot on, but most of it is just shades of the reality. Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I had to wear a cardiac monitor for thirty days and it served as the fuel for my weekly writing class during it’s duration. Now it’s a novel. And the main character, like myself is a nurse. Had a BIG problem keeping reality and fiction separated. I even secretly blamed my instructor for not intervening early on and helping me adjust plot points. But in the long run I understand why she couldn’t.

    I am stealing one thing from you because it is just too fun, “…the bones of the book..” You gotta let this nurse use it in some way!!

    Susan

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL…sure you can use it! I love that expression (and I use it in my Acknowledgement Page to describe the gift my parents gave me with the basis for Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven). It conveys quite visually what I mean, and I love phrases that do that for me.

      Your book sounds very interesting! 30 days is a long time. I had to wear one for three and I thought the adhesive was going to rip off my skin!

      Liked by 1 person

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