First, check out the amazing guest post by my friend Daniel José Older over at the Rejectionist’s blog as he talks about how his job as an EMS medic in New York City inspires his writing. Not because of the stories he witnesses, but because of what he does and feels.
How does real life inspire your writing? What emotions do you channel into what you write? Even if you don’t write memoir I’m guessing real life manages to find a way into your writing.
For me personally, real life couldn’t seem farther away from a children’s book novel about kids who blast off into space and have crazy adventures, but I still channel my doubts and frustrations into my novels. The kids obviously don’t sit around wondering about what life is like for a children’s book author, but I try and take what I’m feeling on a daily basis and it inevitably will seep into the cracks.
By the time it’s passed through the plot of the Wonderbar novels it’s almost imperceptible, but I think those layers add to the experience of the novel, even if the reader isn’t aware of them.
What about you?
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My blog is my real life, so it totally inspires that. My romance novels are somewhat inspired by own emotions and fantasies, but not so much my real life.
One of the speakers at last year's RWA conference said that YA writers write not just for the young readers of today, for the teen they were. Maybe it's just a case of finding my voice, but I'm finding it a lot easier to dig into the emotions in my YA WIP than it ever was in my adult historical. Plus my home town is proving to be a rich background that's so easy to tap!
Neurotic Workaholic says
When I first started writing chick lit, I tried writing stories about young women who went out to bars and parties on a regular basis. But it was hard because my twenties were defined by work; even on the rare occasions when I did go to bars or parties I found myself thinking about all the work I had to do. So the stories I write now are inspired by my work experiences, because I think that real women in their twenties and thirties don't get to hang out with their friends as much as they spend time with their work colleagues.
I write science fiction and fantasy and I know real life has a lot to do with my writing. Without my personal experiences and emotions I couldn't write what I do. Spec Fic isn't just about strange places and peoples (though it is that). It is about the people in these worlds and how they experience the life around them. In the end, all literature is about the human experience. People connect to my characters because they understand their emotions and reactions (whether they always like the choices my characters make or not is a different story altogether).
Marilyn Peake says
I especially love taking news stories and weaving science fiction and fantasy stories that are based on them.
Meghan Ward says
Well, since I do write memoir and personal essays, my life very much infiltrates my writing. My most recent essay is about trying to explain death to my three-year-old. I know, though, that if I wrote fiction, my life would influence my writing as well because all the ideas I have for fiction stories stem from events in my life.
My life is my writing.
If an unhappy childhood is a writer's gold mine, then my absurdly blissful adult life is my diamond mine.
I am finding more and more that I am letting what I am going through slip into my writing. But i never recreate things exactly; I take layers from people I know, and paste them onto characters, sometimes getting aspects for three or four characters off the one person. I also weave in elements of my life, emotions and small anecdotes, lines of dialogue etc. But I deliberately just use this as a starting block, firstly as real life people and events are so impossible to know completely, and I need to know thoroughly what's happening when I am writing, and secondly so in years time I do not have any embarrassing incidents if i ever run into someone who has identified themselves in my novel.
My life experiences have inspired me to write, dictating the genre of my work. Losing my first son at the ripe age of 22, emotionally distraught, drove me to write my first book, BELIEVE- a story about the loss of a child… a heart’s healing journey… and the bond of a Mother’s love. My upcoming memoir/narrative nonfiction (title TBA)centers on my second son’s traumatic brain injury, set against the backdrop of his insurmountable challenges, inspired by a mother’s unwavering faith, impacted by the intercession of heavenly beings, yet gripped by an unexpected twist of fate. Guess you would say, "Real life has inspired my writing."
Robert Michael says
Art doesn't just imitate life, it is often life embodied, personified. We cannot create life (art) from a vacuum. Its genesis is in our souls, our imagination, our experiences. The art and craft of telling the stories of life (a fictional life, or a memoir)that resonate with others is directly correlative with the distillation of talent, experience, imagination, craft, timing, and soul we possess. If we do not experience life–engage in it–we rely too heavily, then, on imagination. Although imagination is the germination of story, experience is the backbone.
Lori Howell says
In the creation of my children's books, An Adventure with Joshua and Hoppy Frog was born. I was inspired by the birth of my grandson. Joshua's delivery was negligent and caused life-threatening disabilities. At that time, we were told that Joshua wouldn't be a normal little boy. So, as new grandmother I wrote my book as if Joshua was discovering life and adventures that most little boys would do. Along the way he met Hoppy the Frog his best friend. Together they learn about self-worth. The inspiration has also created An Adventure with Joshua and Rocky the Otter and they learn courage. Write from your heart.
John Waverly says
I think it goes the other way, too. The other night I wrote a scene from the antagonist's POV. It's a scene near the end of the book where everything is unraveling for him, and he was wildly angry. About this time, my 4yo daughter woke up and asked for something. It was all I could do, to stay calm and help her (even though I'm not an angry person). Does anyone else have this happen? The emotions of your story spill over into real life?
AE. Roud says
Real life events guide some of the drama in the lives of my characters.
Laura Molina says
Real life mistakes make great fiction-
Jacqueline Howett says
I like what GK Jeyasingham said:
"Even for people who write with the end goal of realism, it's not what actually is real that ends up on the pages, it's the writer's perception of reality."
I can quite easily hit the replay button in my mind writing what he said and she said from my own reality into notes, but give it time and space, there's lot's of hidden meanings one finds out about the self that's naturing or brewing in the eventual re-writes.
Usually I'm still growing or learning to let go, or just coming to understand some of the meaning of my own journey in various situations. So with certain Mss half finished and left in a drawer for several years, there's actually a glory to it not being finished as early as one had hoped. Usually your find you're suddenly faced with the new developed realization of self- whatever that may be.
I also think that real need to mirror ones life also reaches a point. As for myself, maturity will bring a lot of cuts. It's also nice to write about anything with a lighter air from the imagination.
Wonderful blog. Hope to check out your book soon!
Jacqueline Howett says
Sorry guys, I noticed my spelling mistake your to mean you'll…
Usually you'll find you're suddenly faced with the new developed realization of self- whatever that may be.