Sometimes, you can find great ideas for your fiction from your own life experiences. We all have met fascinating people who would make great characters in a novel, and we've all lived through some intriguing experiences. Before you start to retell the story of your life on the page, though, there are some things you need to keep in mind.
Writing from your own life has advantages and disadvantages. The main advantage, of course, is that you don't have to frustrate yourself searching for ideas from another source (though once you start writing regularly, you'll find it much easier to find ideas for stories). But that advantage also leads to one of the biggest disadvantages in this approach. It's your life, and while you may find it engrossing, chances are it won't be the same thing for your readers. You're too close to it, and you're much more attached to it than your readers will be. Think about how you feel when you listen to a friend or relative telling stories about what's happened to them. They might be very animated while they're telling you the story, but you may not feel the same way about it. Hearing about someone else's life is never as exciting as experiencing it yourself, and through fiction, readers get to experience someone else's life.
So how do we avoid the trap of self-indulgence? By adopting the same approach we take when we're using ideas that come from sources like stories in the news. We take the kernel of truth from the actual events, and then we distort it, changing it to the point that it may not even be recognziable. We do the same with characters we draw from real life. We may give one of our characters traits from our Great-Grandfather Jack, but we need to exaggerate or otherwise warp the traits so anyone who knew Jack wouldn't connect them to him.
Let's look at an example. Let's say we have a friend named Anne who's fascinated by UFOs. She collects anything that has flying saucers or aliens on it, from collector's plates to plastic toys. What can we do with that?
What if we make our character male? What if, instead of collecting UFO-themed stuff, he is abducted by aliens and returns to earth 10 years later? How does he adapt to the new situation? Does anyone believe his story, or do they think he's crazy? What if he was returned to Earth to warn us about a pending invasion of flying pencil monsters from the depths of space?
Okay, so that last question was ridiculous, but I think you get my point. Use the events and people you already know as springboards for your own creativity, rather than just using them directly as they are. That's the beauty of fiction. It takes things we can all relate to, then reshuffles and exaggerates them, changing them as needed to tell compelling stories.
Make the familiar new and different, something your readers won't expect. You already have a wealth of material at your fingertips. Just jot some ideas down and let your imagination take them in entirely new directions. You never know what you'll come up with.
Copyright © 2013 - lbaldwin.ExpertsColumn.Com · All Rights Reserved | Powered by: ExpertsColumn.com