I’ve received some questions from readers who want to write fiction. When they try however, they find that they’re writing from their life. Is fictionalizing your experiences allowed?
Of course it is. Most first novels are semi-autobiographical. Think of it this way. When you write fiction, you’re tapping into your emotions. Memory’s tied to emotion, so your own “stuff” will come up.
Write fiction: accept what inspires you
Someone once said that if you’ve survived your childhood, you have more than enough material to write all the novels you want.
You can turn your life into fiction, or nonfiction. Your choice. Your memories, your ideas, and your emotions, come together as creative inspiration. It’s a natural process; no effort required.
Emotions are key. Readers read novels to be entertained; to feel, rather than to think. They also read in order to make sense of their own lives. Novels are not real, they’re constructed. However, they can feel intensely real to readers, and this is what readers what: an emotional experience.
An important point: you’re not using your life as it is, or was. Real inspiration lies deeper than your thoughts and even your memories.
The best way to get started writing your novel is just to start. Let’s look at three easy ways to do that.
1. Write about your childhood: your memories are tied to emotion
Ready to write? Think of a childhood experience: a pleasant one. Perhaps you remember a holiday, or a special family event. Recall the experience. Allow yourself to be there in your imagination.
- Where you are. Are you on a street, in a house, in a park?
- What sounds you can hear?
- How you feel: allow any emotions to arise.
You merely want to access the memory and make it real in the moment. You’re not aiming to analyze yourself in any way.
Start writing. Write whatever springs to mind, even if those words don’t make much sense.
When you keep writing and allow yourself to feel your emotions, sooner or later a story will come to you. When it does, go with it: write it.
2. Trigger memories from photos
When you’re alone, with a pen and paper handy, leaf through a photo album slowly. Again, allow emotions to arise. Remember the day each photo was taken.
Now, choose one photo to which you have an intense emotional reaction, and start writing.
By the way, once you start writing your novel, if you get blocked, take out your photo album again.
3. Enjoy your favorite music
When you’re ready to write, play some music which inspires your emotions. Ideally, do this when you’re alone. When you begin to write fiction, your emotions can make you feel vulnerable. You may block if other people are around.
Close your eyes and listen to the music. When images and memories arise, start writing.
The more comfortable you are with your emotions, the easier it is to write fiction
Try the above exercises.
Once you can access your emotions easily, they’ll trigger your imagination and deepest inspiration.
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.