1. Seren Sayer
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    Seren Sayer New Member

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    How to write semi-autobiographical novel

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Seren Sayer, Jan 20, 2014.

    Hey all,

    I am writing my first novel based off of my experiences in college and having bipolar disorder. I am trying to convey the same kind of impressions and conflicts I experienced as I lived my life, but I want to protect the people who will appear in the novel. I am using a pseudonym, but I still am trying to keep the situations just different enough from what happened in reality so that it would not be obvious to those reading what/who/where I was talking about. I'm sorry if this post is in the wrong forum, but I figured this was close enough.
    Any advice is appreciated!
     
  2. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    I'm doing the same thing right now with my MS which is basically my autobiography told from the POV of my MC. Here are some things I changed up to help protect myself, and the people involved:

    My name
    My gender (I am male, my counterpart is female.)
    My age, place of birth, and family names.
    Added siblings (I am an only child)
    Changed the main antagonist to my mother (my father was the abusive parent in reality)
    Altered the locations/settings of stories while keeping the chain of events mostly intact
    Don't spill any secrets or inside jokes from your friends - create your own based of them

    Those are just a few basics. There's probably more you could do, but just a few little twists like that might be enough to throw most people off.
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    My advice would be to read some autobiographical novels and learn from them. Some (relatively) recent examples include Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, Hunter Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Kerouac's On the Road. If you want some classics, try Joyce's Portrait of the Artist or D. H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers.
     
  4. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    The Things They Carried was a great book, well worth reading regardless :)
     
  5. Seren Sayer
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    Seren Sayer New Member

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    Thanks! I am trying to add interesting anecdotes that vary from what actually happened, Alesia, and it's hard, but I will keep trying. I think I need to keep my gender the same, and some other basic stuff, but I will continue working on it. And thirdwind, I will check out some of those novels when I can. I have already read stuff like Angela's Ashes and Tis' by Frank McCourt, and An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison, but I definitely look into some of those, like The Things They Carried.
    Thanks much!
     

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