How do your family experiences translate into writing scenes? Robin asked a difficult question this month. Honestly, I don’t think my family experiences have entered into any of my writing scenes. At least, not consciously.
When I think about it, though, in my latest story Asta and the She Wolves, the main character, Asta, has an ex-fiance who never came to see her perform. This actually happened to me. Before I met my husband, my last serious boyfriend hated opera. I, of course, was studying opera for my graduate degree. He never came to my performances. Well, once. That time, he only came because I was crying when I asked and he refused. (By the way, this is why he’s my ex. We’re friends now, but, after that, it was all over for me.) As you can see, that experience made it’s way into this Asta’s story. Not really family, per se, though.
The relationships between parents and children in my books, especially the rancorous ones, aren’t based on my relationship with my parents. I was lucky to have had good relationships with them. So why do I write such strife among the family? Honestly, it’s the characters who tell me what needs to be written. These are their experiences, not mine.
That being said, the soon-to-be released story Last Chance is based on a tarot reader. My mother read tarot when I was a child. She didn’t do it for a living, but she was scarily accurate. Enough to keep the neighborhood troublemakers away from our house. LOL (Apparently, she told them a few things even their friends didn’t know.) Those experiences, along with how people usually view tarot readers, made it into this particular story.
Sometimes, I’ll take a small portion of someone I’ve met, or perhaps a relative–now that I think about it, and blow up that trait and use it to twist them into a caricature that really doesn’t remotely resemble that person, but works well for that particular story arc. It’s not a conscious thought, but it does happen.
Isn’t that what all of us as authors do, though? We draw from our experiences, whether it’s our upbringing, our family life, the trials and tribulations through school, work . . . everything becomes fodder. A bit intensified, of course. I mean, the drama in our books is usually a sight more than our real lives. (One would hope, anyway. I often put my characters through the wringer. I’m grateful that’s not me in that wringer. LOL)
I don’t really have a good answer for this one. It will be interesting to see what everyone else has to say.
Please stop by:
It’s like the T-shirt I like to wear that warns folk to be careful lest they end up in my novel!! Everything and everyone becomes an entry into that folder of stuff we have in our memories about people that just might end up in a book.
So true! I never truly know what will end up in them. It just comes out. LOL
“I don’t really have a good answer for this one.”
Well, I think you have given a very good answer.
Hi Marci, i agree with Bob. Part of a real-life character ramped up several hundred per cent is the way to go. anne
I’m still making the rounds in reading everyone’s posts. 🙂
This may post twice, my computer is being cranky.
You’re right, we all put our characters and their borrowed traits through the wringer. It is how stories are made.
If we didn’t, it wouldn’t be nearly as interesting. LOL
Watching family dynamics play out can lead to adding a great quirk to a character and making him/her even more realistic. I think all authors have an eye and ear for what goes on around us as you never know what may or may not be useful.