Wednesday, December 08, 2010


Fiction Writing Tip - Use Your Own Experiences

Writing Fiction Based on Life's Experiences
By Lara Wellen

People often think of their own imagination as too lacking to write good fiction. But the fact is that many great works of fiction started out as a real event in someone's life, and not just purely from their imagination.

We've all experienced good times and bad times, and these are the experiences that we remember the most. Think of an event that you remember very well, whether it was positive or negative. Then, think of how that event came to be, and then think of what happened afterwards.

Now, think of the people who were involved in that timeline.

Each person involved has a personality, a character, an attitude. They brought in their own experiences, their own upbringing, and they added something to the timeline that lead to the event. Each person is a smaller story within the larger story.

When writing a work of fiction, these people don't have to have the same names as they had in real life, and they don't have to be the exact same personalities. You can accentuate them to bring out flaws, conflicts, humor, passion, and all the qualities that make interesting characters.

I often start with a real event that happened in my life and then imagine what would have happened if I had done something different. Where would I be today if I had stopped, or turned left, or decided not to go somewhere. To figure things out, you need to understand the friends in your life. If you were in their shoes, what would they have done, and how would their actions contribute to the plot?

You can work out various scenarios just to spark some imagination, develop the subplots, and find material to make a plain story more interesting.

Most of the fiction I've written is based on my life. I take a single event I remembered, and often make that the climax of the story, and then work out various scenarios to creatively write out the events leading up to the climax, and the events that happen afterwards. The main character of the story is always myself. I use my real personality as the basis of that character and I fantasize on how things could have been different to make it more interesting.

What's interesting is how you often end up living out in real life the story you're writing!

Lara Wellen has written books, short stories, and articles for more than 20 years under various pen names, and has ghost written many more. She's currently writing a fiction serial based partly on her life:

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