1. wolferz
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    wolferz Member

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    Scenes based on your own Life?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by wolferz, Mar 7, 2009.

    I am wondering if anyone else does this...I notice that I often write about things that happen to me OR things that I want to happen to me. If I'm upset, I write about it in the 3rd person, maybe using different characters, and I love having "control" over that character. I like being able to manipulate what they say and do, and it often makes me feel better after writing it.

    And also, I tend to only write short scenes or blurbs here or there, with poor plots or story lines. Does anyone have suggestions for putting them together to make a concise story? I have a hard time "trying" new things or just "going with it" to make a story...
     
  2. Dalouise
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    Dalouise Contributing Member

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    I'm not sure that stringing a series of scenes together, as such, will give you a coherent novel but everyone is different. I start with a one-liner which is the entire story - for example, girl meets boy, loses boy, finds someone else, meets first boy again and happy ever after. Then I ask when why how and every other question until it becomes a paragraph. Eventually, if I think I have a story that goes somewhere and has sufficient conflict and all the other good things I think it should have, I outline with a short paragraph per chapter. If the picture is clear enough to me, I start writing.
    I do use my own experiences because I can convey more emotion that way. When I finished my first novel I was quite shocked to find out something about myself that I had never admitted to before, not even myself. This was a little strange but it made certain aspects of the main character work well. :redface:
     
  3. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    I find that basing characters on your personal life can add a lot of depth. I have done a bit of writing that is fiction based upon true events. Approaching from the 3rd person can also allow you to cover areas that are otherwise too painful to write.
     
  4. Imposter
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    Somebody once said, "Start off by writing what you know." That helped me immensely in drafting my first book. You might be thinking to yourself, "My life is so normal and boring, how could that possibly be interesting enough to write about?" That is where imagination comes in. I find pleasure in writing about ordinary people under extraordinary circumstances, and I could add so much more depth and realism when I based most of my characters on people I know or have known.

    For me, the two most powerful words a fiction writer can utilize is.........WHAT IF. Use them over, and over, and over again. When the right idea or concept pops into your head, you'll know it because you won't be able to stop thinking about it and it will become a story you HAVE to write.

    At least that's how it is for me.
     
  5. Roxie
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    Roxie Active Member

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    "Start off by writing what you know." was truly the best advice for me. So naturally, my instinct was to write it all in the first person, but I found that to be too close to home. So I switched perspective half through my novel. Now that I am writing in the 3rd person, I find that I am able to distance myself from the past but still write about it poignantly.
     
  6. Aeroflot
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    Aeroflot Senior Member

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    What I've also heard is "write about what you don't know about what you know." How you want to interpret that is up to you.

    I haven't used any scenes from my own life lately because it feels awkward to have people who know me well read my stories. Their comments are always "hey, that sounds just like you," or "I remember something similar happening between us."
     
  7. silverfrost
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    silverfrost Member

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    I tend to make use of experiences familiar to me. Many times, I will write in order to look at an issue I have (with the way I'm living, with another person, etc.), and I'll address that problem or try to understand it better. It's a good method for figuring things out about myself.
     
  8. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I don't write about things that happen to me or things that I want to happen to me because 1. I write to escape my life, and nothing remotely interesting enough to be put into a story happens to me; 2. I try to keep myself (aside from my understanding of emotions--THAT I do put into my stories) out of my writing as much as possible--I would loathe writing a character who represents me; and 3. writing a bunch of wish-fulfillment fantasies, IMO, makes for lousy reading and smacks of Mary-Sueism. Sure, I might want the things that happen to my characters to happen to me, but I don't write wish-fulfillment stories. My characters are not substitutes for me, nor are they meant to be. They are their own individual beings. Not Mary Sues.

    Sorry, no real advice. My best experience learning to write comes from just writing. I do know that trying to connect a bunch of separate scenes doesn't tend to make for a good longer story. It just makes for a bunch of disconnected scenes strung together. You'll have to learn to come up with an idea for a longer story that fits together on its own. Maybe mull an idea over for a while before committing it to writing. Many beginning writers seem to think that once an idea pops into mind, they can immediately start writing and come up with a great story, but it's often not like that, and they then wonder why they stall out--because they didn't put enough thought and development into it.
     
  9. samessex
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    samessex Member

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    I follow a similar style to you dalouise. i find doing a quick spidergram to start with and jot down a few brief words, like you say boy meets girl, etc. and then i build on each spider-leg! :redface:
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if you mean do i do it for a catharsis, no i don't... but i have used events and even scenes from my own life, wherever they were perfect for the character and plot... most seasoned writers do that, actually... and the more varied life experiences you pile up, the more you can draw on it to give your writing that reader-engaging, 'been there' realism...
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Everything you write has roots in your own experiences, even if only in term of how you imagine a hypothetical scenario would play out. The more of your direct experience that ends up in your writing, the more genuine it will seem to your readers.
     
  12. Nervous1st
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    Nervous1st Senior Member

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    Hi Wolferz

    I know exactly where you’re coming from. I find it extremely therapeutic to express my emotions through my characters. Even though my characters and I have experienced different things I can always relate to them in some way. I started off writing my novel in the third person but after the second chapter I found I wasn’t connecting to the characters at all. I switched it to the first person and felt an enormous relief putting my fears, frustrations, hopes blah blah blah into my characters and in some ways releasing me.

    I started out writing in my private journals and when I look back to where I was some years ago, I don’t even recognize myself. It almost seems a life time ago I was writing about loss and depression. In fact some thoughts are now so foreign they seem like they belong to someone else. So, I am now drawing on those moments, thoughts, feelings and using them in my characters.

    As for advice on how to put it all together – I have outlined my novel and although it is a tribute to my friend and based on her story, it is still fiction and allows me to manipulate my characters in ways I can express myself. I am following the outline of my story but stopping to insert excerpts from my past journals. You can do a similar thing….. start from the beginning with a clear out line and then insert what you have already written where appropriate, even if you need to amend it slightly to make it fit your new story and character.

    I don’t have a problem using what I have already written in a completely different story line. I don’t know if I could write now like I did back then because I am mentally in such a different place.

    Sorry for the long winded post…. I hope it helps.
     
  13. g1ng3rsnap9ed
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    g1ng3rsnap9ed Contributing Member

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    I'm not going to pretend like I'm this best-selling author who has the right to say what style or methods work as a writer, so take what I'm about to say with a grain of salt. idk if "manipulating" a character is a good idea. I think that instead, you should build up a character and let the character act how they really would act based on their traits and personality. Like I said, not trying to sound like a jerk, just doing my best to help.

    Coming up with new stories is also a very difficult thing imo. The best ideas literally come out of nowhere for me and the worst tend to be the ones that I have plotted out in my mind thinking "oh boy, this is a great idea!" Sometimes I begin stories without a plot-line in mind and just let the story unfold on its own, often surprising myself in the direction that it takes.

    Hope that helps. :)
     

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