Yeah, embarrassing, isn't it.
I just read a short story that I was working on over a year ago. It is a very personal story, one that I don't even know whether I can ever give it to the person that is involved. On the other hand, it's a really good story.

I was wondering how you cope with using material about your personal experience. People you know become characters (even though they will be different). In my first book, I used practically my whole environment. Parents and friends said they could clearly see themselves in it. Back then I didn't really think about what they thought of my depiction. That has changed.

If you witness something really funny happening, would you use it in your writing, even though the person that it happened to might read it someday? After all, you do use different names.

14 Comments:

  1. Wolf said...
    I guess it depends on how you tell the story. You can do it and still be respectful towards the (real) people involved.
    Laura said...
    I think as a writer you collect ingredients from all over. Then you cook them up. You can feed your meal to your greengrocer; although he recognises the taste of carrots, he'll never know if they're his. Lx
    li said...
    I've done it. I generally disguise gender/age/place as much as possible if I think it will offend, but since I laugh at myself as much as anyone, and my family/friends don't take themselves (or each other) too seriously, I seldom worry. I tell them, "I don't write stories. I tell other people's truths!"
    DEZMOND said...
    well, it is well known that all the biggest writers from the history of literature have used personal experiences and people and situations around them in their writing and that was actually the secret of their success. You know that Dostoevsky even carried a little black book with him all the time writing in everything interesting he would see every day in his walks, meetings, every day life ... faces, events, situations, descriptions ... everything.
    Austin James said...
    I take the "hold no mercy approach." I figure, their family... they'll talk to me again eventually.
    Apfel said...
    Isn't that what writing is all about? Sharing experiences. Be it fact or fiction :) We're always telling someone else's story. Who knows, our fiction could be someone's fact...
    Apfel said...
    And I have done it too, actually. But I have always changed the names :P It is still very evident though!
    Elizabeth Mueller said...
    I agree with Wolf, it depends on how it is told. I haven't written like that, but I've used my experiences like tragedies in my life, to help give it life.

    ♥.•*¨ Elizabeth ¨*•.♥
    Ellie said...
    I agree that our experiences and the people around us shape our stories and the characters we use, and if it's done well no one need be any the wiser. However, as a strict rule, I never base stories on true events. Never.

    Firstly, my own life is too mundane and boring to fit in with science fiction. Secondly, I wouldn't want anyone to recognise themselves or a particular incidentin my writing.

    I guess everyone has different thoughts on this and I agree with Wolf's comments - respect the feelings of the people around you and you should be okay.
    Kev D. said...
    "Christopher, the resemblance to the character is purely coincidental. Besides, even if some of it IS based on you, Piss-topher is a lovable character, and no one else will ever put two and two together and figure out that it was you who pooped yourself that time at Denny's."
    Donna Hole said...
    Depends on the person, and how common the experience. Embarrassing is usually funny - later - and people like to think they can laugh at themselves and move on. Or even teach others a hard learned lesson.

    And like that "bright shiny new idea" that we writers get; really how often does one person have a totally unique, embarrassing moment?

    Watch America's Funniest Home Videos if you need proof :)

    ......dhole
    J.L. Campbell said...
    I have written about personal experiences and things that happened to friends, but usually, I tell them that I'm going to use that incident so it doesn't come as a surprise if it gets in print.
    Nahno McLein said...
    Thank you all so much.

    Your comments have actually really touched me and made we think it all over again. I'm still not sure what is the best way, because each case is different, but at least I have some great advise now on how to deal with the issue.

    Hope to see you around in the A-Z challenge from now on.
    Monica said...
    Found you from the A-Z Challenge, it sounds like it’s going to be so much fun (with a bit of stress thrown in) and I can’t wait to get started!! I’m now following your blog on GFC and I hope you have a chance to check out my blog.
    Monica
    http://oldermommystillyummy.blogspot.com/

Post a Comment



Newer Post Older Post Home