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How much of your personal life ends up in your writing?

Wed, 01 Nov 2017 15:07:58 GMT

Does it ever hurt people you love, or make you afraid of what people around you will think? One friend mentioned a time when her mother was so upset at her for publishing a really emotional piece about their family. Is your own need to express yourself worth potentially harming/losing an important relationship?

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 01:39:42 GMT

Too much, I think. In fact, I think one of my strongest weaknesses as a writer is in putting too much of myself into my characters. I want them all to be liked, but in the end of the day, I don't think rote "likeness" is something that makes a character compelling. A characters can be despicable and still share common attributes to you. I think of Gene Forrester from "A Separate Peace." The character is borderline crazy, and yet--by the end of the story--we can't help but see hints and shadows of Gene in ourselves.

Daniel B.
Fri, 03 Nov 2017 03:25:41 GMT

I agree a lot with Dylan up there. But I also feel that it's precisely because we feel this temptation to write ourselves into our characters that we should strive for writing new faces, in new times, in unfamiliar situations, but perhaps with...souls(?) that we're familiar with. Sam Roberts is one of my favourite Canadian musicians, and in one of his older songs, he claims: "You can rise above yourself, but never the times that you live in." Perhaps we can overcome this urge to weaving our personal lives into our stories. But the time in which we're living is the state we see the world in, and I feel its because of this that personal fragments end up in our characters a lot more than we think. Is self expression worth harming a close relationship, though? I honestly don't know...for some, perhaps it's not. Then again, getting published can easily change that!

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 09:52:52 GMT

I find it hard not to go through an experience in my personal life and think 'hey, that would make a great scene!' Some people have asked if my main character is based on me. I guess some of him is, but more the parts of me I don't like and the parts I'd like to be.

Sat, 25 Nov 2017 13:40:03 GMT

On my first book and some has surfaced in the story already that's for sure.

Sun, 10 Dec 2017 20:20:57 GMT

Anytime I try and write about real experiences in some way they manage to turn into something else entirely

Sun, 10 Dec 2017 23:29:34 GMT

I never seek out to write about my own experiences, per se, but my " internal dialogue" makes it into my writing, or in other words, my reflection on a life experience that I've had. I don't write about that same experience, but maybe a character goes through a parallel experience that leads somewhere similar. That's for fiction, though. My poetry is much more personal and overtly reflective of my life.

Sun, 10 Dec 2017 23:39:23 GMT

I just want to add to my previous response. I don't think it is worth it to harm another person/relationship that is important to me just for the sake of expressing myself in writing. If I were determined to write something that would have that outcome, I would probably use a pen name.

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 18:12:43 GMT

Too much, I would say- I do worry that if certain friends or family read some of my stuff, they would be able to see through the story to whatever real events inspired that particular piece. It's made me try harder to avoid writing real life comparisons.

Fri, 09 Feb 2018 03:32:54 GMT

Enough. I like to draw off of my personal experiences, especially if it's going to help the character or situation sound real. However, I also try not to make my stories autobiographical. I want to use my life to enhance my writing, not become the story.

Fri, 09 Feb 2018 20:49:14 GMT

I always try not to, but I usually end up writing something based upon my experience in my personal life. I would say that's not exactly bad, since it make the writing and emotions more real. Although, I do think if certain people that I know would read my book, they'd know certain thing are based on my personal life. Hop they don't read my book, haha.

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 19:08:04 GMT

Sometimes too much. I tend to outline with sentences for each scene. When I flesh it out, I'll sit with my eyes closed as my mind watches my past unfold. Second draft, change environments and outcomes as to conceal some things from those who were involved originally.

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 05:00:30 GMT

It's an addiction of mine to use my experiences in my stories. However, I fictionalize things and try not to cross certain lines.

Tue, 13 Mar 2018 14:43:30 GMT

You can`t completely erase your personal life, but I tend to just use an idea of a real event. Not just because I could hurt people that I love. The thing is that real events, real people and the things that are happening to them are not usually so interesting.

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 19:45:19 GMT

A lot of it. Not necessarily specific events (though that happens too) but a lot of times characters have bits and pieces from people I know or have encountered and certain identities and experiences always end up in my stories with some twists.

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 23:23:42 GMT

My personal life always finds a way into what I'm writing one way or another, it's just such a prominent part of my experience. I do worry about the effects of this on those close to me but I'm also fully against censoring my writing

Fri, 30 Mar 2018 20:16:23 GMT

I hate putting my personal life into my writing. For me it just makes the story seem more familiar and less creative. It's what I know, so I can write that story. But I find that it lacks imagination. I want to be surprised by my own ideas.

Fri, 30 Mar 2018 21:41:05 GMT

The writings that I'm really proud of the whole plot is based on a personal experience and same with my favorite scenes. For me the story becomes much more real when that happens, hits closer to home for the readers and not just me; helps the emotion transfer through the words more (in my opinion of course).

Sun, 01 Apr 2018 10:57:48 GMT

With my first novel, 'Proud City the Unaware Revolution', I tried to make an explicit separation. Each character is a story teller and has a perspective; none is mine per se. Apparently, the novel is complex for general readers, but rich in substance. Personal experience is mostly for your readers because they like flipping pages than contemplating a sentence. I stay away from it, but again, your personal experience is preferable to someone else.

Mon, 02 Apr 2018 23:52:23 GMT

In answer to the main question, I would always have said that I find my characters coming home with me, as opposed to my personal life bleeding into them. That said, they say write what you know and I'm currently playing around with two concepts from my personal life and bringing them forth in a character. I'm also looking at writing a family memoir about the amazing-and-crazy women in my family and their stories. We'll see where that goes. So, in short, my answer would be both. In answer to your sub-questions, I am quite wary of it at this point in my life. However, I did just meet a prolific writer/playwright/poet in New Zealand; she's just published her memoir, a collection of stories/poems/plays, with one for each year of her life (88!!). Her opinion was that it's her story to tell and she's going to tell it, regardless of what anyone else thinks.