Life Experiences: 4 Tips for Writing From Your Life - article

Your life is a rich mine of material for your creative works. You will find no greater resource. Here are 4 tips to show you how to leverage personal experiences for writing fiction.

Tip #1

No need for the truth. Many writers are caged in by the facts of their life. Avoid exact retelling and instead use real events or experience to serve as a basic framework. The idea is to use real events or experiences as fodder for your story. Be bold and change places, time frames, personalities involved, point of views, key events, or even the outcome.

It can also be a helpful exercise to write a factual account of an experience and then rewrite it as a fictionalized account. What can you do to stretch the truth to make your story better?

Tip #2

Imaginary experiences are welcome. You don’t have to use real experiences; they just need to be something important to you. You might have a rich daydream world. Try writing something you’ve dreamed about it. Perhaps, you’ve had dreams of traveling to Rome. You open a little trattoria, go on a quest to visit every pizza parlor, throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain, and fall in love.

Write about your daydream experience. Expand your research. You can create any experience you want. It doesn't matter if it really happened to you; what’s important is that you can make it feel real to the reader.

Tip #3

Blend multiple experiences into one. Take bits and pieces from various life events. Don’t stick to your life's timeline. Perhaps you might want to use a camp you went to as a kid as a setting and then add your boyfriend from high school as a character, and finally follow a plotline that uncovers the lessons you learned on your first big job.

Be creative and think out-of-the-box when weaving your real world experiences into your fiction. And think about this, you don’t have to just stick with your experiences. Mix in the memories of stories of your family and friends. Perhaps tuck in something from the newspaper. Blend together a compelling mix of the real into your imagined world.

Tip #4

Select the best experiences. Not every event is worth writing about and not every detail is worthy of being included. Does your journal contain day-to-day listings of everything from your daily lunches to your awful divorce? Select the most provocative experiences and cut away the rest. Dig deep into these moments. Did you learn any lessons? Who was hurt or saved? Think about what you might have changed.

It can also help to think about different outcomes. Pare down to the essential. You don't need to include every character, every stop in a journey, or every roadblock along the way. Focus on what moves the story forward.

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  • THANKS MOLLY!! I currently writing love stories but it is not exactly my experience. The  element that relate my writings and I is the emotion that I show. The emotion are real, I've change the story line from my real life experience as I believed it will be more interesting.

  • I appreciate your insight.  Thank you.

  • Thank you for this great piece of information. I have finally confirmed that the approach and strategy is valid. I have used one of my dreams to start writing my book and have begun to incorporate even more of my dreams in this book.
  • Thanks for confirming ideas I have. I'm finding my own life experiences are relevant in my historical novel. My imagination will be no different to the key characters in the novel, therefore the thoughts and experiences, I have should be relevant in another time zone. Perhaps this brings authenticity for the reader. As the journey of the historical key people, are real. I hope this is true.
  • Good points. :)