Maybe, this is a dumb question. But, how much of ‘real life’ gets into our fictional writing? Is there an unspoken rule that we can not take from our own lives? Or, is it ‘common sense’ that most of what you write WILL come from experiences?
I believe this is a touchy subject. From my experience, most of what I write does come from my life. Or, I might write something that resembles an experience from a person I know. The subject is touchy, because, some people might not want aspects of their life drawn into a story. I really can’t help it, though. My mind is buzzing with ideas all the time. I write them down and have them in a small red notebook. Some things I deliberately haven’t begun writing because I worry about someone getting angry with me.
For example, I find the story of how I came to be extremely fascinating. I’ve often joked that my life could be a primetime drama. And, my parents meeting and me being born could very well make up two full seasons.
But, there are details in there I’m sure my parents don’t want out there. And you could be saying— “You change the names— you change the location—” Sure, but the real people know it’s about them, so you run into problems. But, the point is, that makes a good story. I’ve told my parents I’m writing about them after they’re gone. It’s just too good.
But, see, writers need to be careful. And, I don’t think this topic is actually addressed much. You need to not cross a line, yet you need stories to be engaging and entertaining. And, I think if you asked most writers, they would say most of their ideas contain even just a tad of real life.
It’s hard not to mesh reality with fiction.
This whole idea can be seen with the film, The Social Network. You know— it was about Facebook and its creator, Mark Zuckerburg. Zuckerburg had been quoted as saying he felt the film was wrong on several counts and that he was never going to see the film. I’m sure the creators were a bit scared of what Zuckerburg would think, especially of his portrayal. At the end of the day, the story of Facebook’s creation is a good one, and it needed to be told.
The bottom line is: as writers, we can’t worry what others think of our choices when it comes to our writing.
We’re all humans, absorbing our surroundings and experiences. And, if you’re good friends with a writer, chances are, you’ll find yourself in a script one day.
IMAGE: From Filthymonkey, DeviantArt.