Real Life in Fiction

I’m scheduled to speak at a young writer’s conference next weekend, and my topic is Real Life in Fiction – writing about what you know. The more I looked into the subject and the more I thought about it, I realized, as writers, we are all inspired by our real lives and experiences.

Even fantasy and science fiction writers are inspired, to some extent, by their real-life experiences and the people they know. Hermione in Harry Potter is based loosely on JK Rowling as a kid. Ron Weasley is inspired by JK Rowling’s best friend.

Stephenie Meyer admits that her faith (as a Mormon) has influenced her Twilight stories and characters. She says that her characters “tend to think more about where they came from, and where they are going, than might be typical.”

As I started to dissect my latest book – I realized all the ways my real-life experiences had inadvertently seeped into my novel. The main character has a very different personality from me, but our experiences are similar. Meanwhile, the secondary character is strongly reminiscent of my mother.

I suspect you could find remnants of the author’s life and experiences in every work of fiction. We are inspired by our own experiences, by the things that interest us, and by the events, situations and people around us.


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