This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
I’m sure there is a blurred line between fact and fiction in my novels. There are always elements of my books which are based on kernels of experience from my life, after all, the most famous bit of writing advice is ‘write what you know.’
I was telling one of my friends recently that I wasn’t going to attend one of my church marriage classes which dealt with the topic of sex and love. My fiancé had told me that he didn’t want to go that one, and I wasn’t about to go on my own seeing as the classes allowed for lots of time for discussions amongst the couples. ‘You can’t not go. Think of your books,’ my friend had said. At first I struggled to see what my books had to do with my impending marriage. So she spelt it out for me ‘Think of it as a future material for one of your books. You never know when one of your characters might have to go to a class like that.’
I hadn’t really thought about using my life as research before. Of course things that have happened to me in real life have appeared in my books. When I podcasted American Wedding I wrote a ‘fact or fiction’ blog to let the reader into what truths there were in my stories. But I was most definitely focused on using past experiences.
Since the marriage class I went to alone (which actually was fascinating) I’ve tried to grin and bear doing things that I don’t necessarily like to do, or do things I wouldn’t usually, all in the name of research. I’ve also started to pay more attention to what I have been up to, and almost keeping a note of experiences that might come in handy. Like the other week I got the opportunity to death slide off the top of my workplace roof (long story), but the experience of the rush I got from that, not to mention that aching muscles and shaky legs could all be fed into character’s experience of an adrenaline fuelled activity.
All I need to do know is work on convincing my fiancé how important these research tasks are. Then I could suggest holidays to far flung places like the Maldives, as you never know it may be the pivotal part of the plot in one my future novels…