Monday, May 10, 2010

Writing and Life Experience: Follow Up

Last week was very busy, so I didn't get to follow up on this post as quickly as I planned. (Today is going to be even worse, as I have to stay so late at work a co-worker will have to bring Alex here. I'm not even sure I'll get home before his bedtime; my husband will have to pick him up.) That actually worked out for the best, since another writer commented on this post when it uploaded to my Facebook feed. Both Elizabeth and Ann said that life experience helps make your fiction seem real. Barbara reminded us how imagination and listening to others can help us write about others who don't share our life experiences. Patty Jansen, a fellow OWW writer, pointed out that you don't need just life experiences, but also perspective on them so you can "distill them into a character." (Patty, I hope you don't mind me quoting you here.)

If I had to summarize what I think about life experiences affecting your writing, I'd say everyday life provides you with the details to make your fiction seem real, while extraordinary events are the ones that challenge you and make you grow, just as they do for your own characters.

I'd love to say more, but it's back to the lab mines for me.

1 comment:

Barbara Ann Wright said...

One thing I love about modern fiction, especially modern genre fiction, is the emphasis on characters. Watching an episode of Star Trek DS9, I almost had a fit when Sisko tells his son to "write what he knows" while living in the distant future in space. And I thought, the writers of this don't know a thing about living in the distant future in space. But then I understood that what they're talking about is the characters. Write about what you've felt, what you've experienced, and what you can imagine others experiencing, the things that will make them grow as characters. Everything else is, well, setting.

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