What Do YOU Think?

I’m interested in getting your thoughts about stuff I see and hear, quotes I read, stuff that passes as knowledge – and starting an authorey conversation.

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I really believe we bring our life experiences to our work, and we should do more of it.

I do it, as some of you have seen, but not enough. Many, many times, a passage that really connects with a reader – as told to me by critique partners or a beta reader – was an actual piece of my life lifted up from my heart and put back down on the page. Use your life in your writing. It doesn’t imply you’re no good at making stuff up.

I also think where an author fails to do that, to “go there,” the writing can fall flat.

What are YOUR thoughts on this idea?

39 thoughts on “What Do YOU Think?

  1. Absolutely! Using your own experiences gives your writing authenticity! Not only that, but as a writer, you have the unique opportunity to relive moments of your life and make them turn out another way.

    Have you ever walked away from a confrontation feeling like you just let the other person walk all over you? Then an hour later, you think of all sorts of brilliant come backs that could’ve just eviscerated the other person, right? Of course.

    When you’re a writer, you can make that happen! (Albeit fictionally and not in real life. But still, it’s pretty satisfying!)

    Liked by 7 people

  2. For sure using personal experience or thoughts helps. The give life to the writing. Reality. It feels more natural. That’s what I think. And people that really know the author probably see that some part of that particular writing is the author in disguise.
    I think everybody is better at maybe reinterpreting themselves, rather that inventing a totally new self, with each writing.
    Interesting question. I find myself trying to hide (maybe?) myself when I write short stories. But as I said, people that really know me, hear me in those stories more that I can think.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. We can only connect to that which we believe is possible. So if someone writes from real life and the reader cannot conceive of the story happening, there will be no connection. However, should the reader believe in fantasy’s reality, then no amount of real life will top that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • If my main character has a fight with his wife, people should not assume I am having a fight with my real life wife.

      It’s a story.

      On the other hand, in order for it to read as realistic, it should be based on experiences.

      The hard part is not to portray ourselves and our friends and our characters in our stories as pure as the driven snow.

      The hard part is to admit the flaws we all carry within us as human beings and portray them adequately on the page. That’s what most writers don’t do and that’s where most writers fail

      Liked by 2 people

  4. When we pour ourselves into the story, it becomes real. Reader sense that and connect, even if it’s a tiny thing or moment in the story.
    If we fail to “get real” readers sense that also and yawn so much they don’t finish the book. However, I don’t think that means we must reveal our naked self to the public. After all we are fiction writers. LOL

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I believe that as authors our own life experiences and feelings do leak into our writing. I was unaware of this a few years ago until a friend said, “Didn’t that happen to you?”. I think it adds a reality that readers can identify with.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Were it not for drawing from my life, I would never have started writing in the first place. For me, writing is an act of interpretation through story, a way of comparing notes, as it were. Many years ago, I took an acting class in Venice, California. The teacher said something that resonates to this day, “You know, if you think about it, there really aren’t that many different ways to live.” She, of course, was pointing out the similarities we all experience in living, as if to encourage fearlessness in our commonalities, and this is what I keep in mind when I write, and why I prefer writing in the first person. A narrator can depict a certain vantage point with which the reader can connect and therefore compare. If a writer draws from their life, they hold up a mirror. I’ve always liked the idea of this.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t know “everything”, but it’s evident the experiences of an author are going to shape the way they communicate to the readers. And if they don’t it’s going to show, and not in a good light.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree with this. It’s also a way to experience things that you haven’t. If you’ve gone through a situation that didn’t resolve correctly. Writing about something similar, with the correct resolution, can be cathartic.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think you’re absolutely right. Anything that doesn’t come from the heart, or the author’s experience, doesn’t reach out to readers the way the heartfelt stuff does. I think this is because it is harder to describe a place you’ve never been, or an experience you’ve never been through, but when you have, it is much easier to put the reader there. I also think there must be a little of the author’s experience in everything you write, if only on a subconscious level. How could it ever be otherwise?

    Liked by 1 person

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