This depends on the genre of writing I am using. I've written several personal essays, which of course, are based on events or people in my life. In my fiction writing, things differ. I don't want family or friends to recognize themselves as a character, and I don't want to make anyone think a mean or evil character is based on my acquaintanceship with them.
In thinking about this topic, I decided it would be very difficult not to have my life events play in some way in my writing. We all learn how to communicate and get along with members of our family and community and also how to disagree, and that learning can differ significantly. What I have learned and experienced must show in my writing. It is probably why I've heard writing exposes the author as a person.
I doubt specific events of my life have appeared in my stories, except maybe in very changed and convoluted forms. I've written mostly science fiction or fantasy romance, so most of my challenges and defeats would probably not work. However, my knowledge of art and history and experience with horses, riding, pets of all types, gardening, nature, and environment, have played into many of my stories, including my limited knowledge of sailing and other incidental knowledge. Throughout history, I have learned about certain types of events and how people reacted in the past, plus all the horrific things people have done to others they think of as invaders or miscreants, and I think the crime seldom deserved the punishment. I also think real-life situations portrayed in the news such as youngsters disappearing from home to other local catastrophes might enter my writing, but of course in a different way from the news presentations.
While the news describes many disastrous situations happening worldwide, from weather such as flooding, wildfires, droughts and various types of storms, to people instigated tragedies like uprisings and government reactions, I have not experienced them. I might use something like them in the future, but I know I would have to do extensive research to make the situations feel real to the reader. Politics, as exposed both in history and current media, have entered my stories, but in strange worlds and places, politics is often important.
Please visit the following authors' blogs and read their takes on this topic:
Dr. Bob Rich
Enjoyed your post, Rhobin. However, I suspect that even your most outlandish characters in the furthest parts of the universe are shaped on a combination of real people from your life, and the events they experience are transformed events from Earth.ReplyDelete
You suspicions are probably very accurate, Bob.ReplyDelete
I'm thinking there are bits and pieces of you, and others you know woven into those fictional beings. But as you say, morphed to disguise any similarities that might hurt others.ReplyDelete
Rhobin, I would think the way one sees and experiences life would color are stories a little bit.ReplyDelete
Lost my comment when Blogger asked me to confirm. Hmn! Great list of recreations you have to draw from Rhobin. AnneReplyDelete
Since you've read my blog, you know that I've based the events of some characters' lives on events people I know have lived through and shared with me.ReplyDelete
But as for people recognizing themselves and not being happy? Well, if you read enough of my books you will know the name of the man who caused me much irritation when I was younger. So men who are jerks or alpha-holes, always have his name. He'll probably never read any of my stuff, since we lost contact years ago. But if he ever does, he'll know the truth of that slogan I saw on a tee shirt: "Be careful how you treat me, or I'll write you into a novel...and you won't like it!"
A very well thought out post, with a lot of information on whether to include a person or incident and why or why not.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the thought provoking post, Rhobin.
I've used a lot of vacations as the basis for novels, usually taking setting, sightseeing, and all the details, but having the character have experiences there that have no relation to me. This is actually fun, but I think you are very disciplined not to use anything from "real life" in your books.ReplyDelete