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?