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Friday, January 9, 2009

Using your life in your writing

Writing has a way of sneaking in the events and feelings in our lives that we'd rather keep hidden. You're writing about a character and the events of this character's life aren't anything like yours. You're writing dialogue and suddenly you realize you've put in a flashback to an event in your own life. The character is reminiscing about your feelings concerning an event that has already passed. When that happens it can be pretty creepy. It's as if the character was searching around in your brain waiting to pick out relevant events and reclassifying them somehow. The events happened to you, but maybe not in the same way. Or the outcome is different. 

This happens to me frequently. My characters have discussions and use the parts of my life that fit with them. I never think about which events they'll choose. It's like real conversation. You say something and it reminds you of something else. My own life gets woven into the story even if I didn't have that intention at all. But I find that when I do this it gives my characters a little more depth. 

It's difficult to go back to being a teenager and the feelings I had when I was younger. But it's also a look back at the teenager you were. It's  a way to almost rewrite your life as a new character. But it's also a way for kids to see the hopes and dreams of your own teen years. Authors connect with readers in a very intimate way. 

I am in the middle of reading the seventh book of The Dresden Files. The author has me so hooked I must read on through each chapter. Occasionally, I'll find a chapter where I can stop reading, but the story is so compelling it is difficult to stop reading it. I am sure that though this is about a wizard in Chicago the author, Jim Butcher, has put parts of his own life into it. I'm thinking about the family scenes and his feelings about children. But it is also as if you, the reader, are able to peek into these various lives, especially the wizard's life. As writers we need to do this to bring our readers into the story. I think that is why I am so in love with this series. That and the fact that the main character is not bad looking. I'm a sucker for a good looking guy.:)

Happy Weekend everyone. We're probably going to be snowed in this weekend.

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