Faber Session 24 – Writing From Life


Ok, lets get the cake porn out of the way first lol. Those of you on Facebook will have already seen this, but I’m sure you’ll cope with a second dose of Maple & Pecan Pie with Creme Fraiche ;)

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Ok, so it wasn’t strictly cake, but I needed something hard core to cope with the evening ahead lol

Tonight’s class was all about Memoir. Not one of my fellow 11 students are writing a real memoir, but we discovered that a few of us are writing about themes and other stuff that is part of our own lives.

Some of my notes:

Is writing about your own life (fictionalising it) cheating?

There is a part of us that can relate to everything. All the characters we create are a part of us as they come from inside our heads.

Should writers have therapy to understand themselves better?

Investigate things that intrigue you, be curious, observe, have new experiences.

No ones life is dull. We all have experiences we can draw on.

Take the time to talk to people, ask them about their lives.

Every writer leaves parts of themselves in each of their novels.

Then it was time for my critique….shall I keep you in suspense? Ok, what I will say is that it was very positive, but there are some problems….but more about that on Wednesday for my IWSG post :)

So do you feel that you leave parts of yourself inside every novel you write? I know I do ;)

49 thoughts on “Faber Session 24 – Writing From Life

  1. Definitely. One of the advantages of having been on this earth a long time is that it’s possible to utilise many different extracts from one’s life and build on them, so the potential to develop different characters is definitely there.

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  2. Definitely! Especially the first two novels. Those were based on some specific feelings from my past. The others have some of me, but I don’t think as much. Glad you got positive feedback :)

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  3. I believe that our characters contain something of the author. however a friend recently wrote about a psycho killer. I did ask her where that came from…. but I don’t remember what she said… yet some can write about totally different personalities than their own. by the way – should writers have therapy is a crock

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    • It’s funny because when I read a book I don’t automatically think about whether there is any autobiographical stuff in it that’s come from the writer, but, I’ll be thinking about it more now when I read lol.

      It did Sam! :)

      Xx

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    • Ahhhhh, now there’s a thought Pauline, non fiction. I guess you’re writing about subjects you’re passionate about and it must be hard to stick to facts rather than your own opinion?

      Awwww, thank you honey :)

      Xx

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  4. Hi Vikki, of course every writer leaves pieces of themselves in their writing. How can we not? Sometimes I think a writer’s debut novel is based very loosely on their lives. The places, names changed and situations have been exaggerated but it’s there! A short story I’m trying to finish came from a dream I had. Although it has nothing to do with my life, I feel that the characters within share similarities of my personality and maybe even people close to me — their personality. We can’t help but pull from what we know, who we are and the contents of our heads — some of which maybe buried deep — until we begin investigating. Good luck with the class — it sounds wonderful!

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  5. I’m glad to hear the critique went well! Can’t wait for your Wednesday’s post… And yes, although I write Fantasy, there definitely are parts of me in my characters. Hope you have a great writing week!

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  6. It’s very difficult not to have something of yourself in your writing, but when I look back over the work I’ve done so far, there was much more of me in my first novel than anything I’ve written since. I think that first novels are often cathartic and, possibly, more self-indulgent.

    Talk about self-indulgence — I want a piece of that cake!

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      • I think that it’s especially so with the first novel. I’ve written four altogether, which, looking back, were learning experiences. I’m finding number 5 much harder, as it’s far more visionary and ventures into unknown territory for me, although the idea behind it springs from my passion for the environment and my fears of where this world is going. So in that respect, there is still something of me in it.

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      • *nods* It’s interesting isn’t it. I wonder if novelist who have written 20+ novels still feel that there is part of them in their recent work…..When I bump into one I’ll ask ;)

        Xx

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  7. I remember Kristen Lamb saying you must kill your darlings, i.e. take out everything about yourself or people you know. I’m on the fence but then I don’t write novels. That dessert looks delish!

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  8. I heard somewhere once that fiction should be believable and nonfiction (hence, memoirs) should be unbelievable. Kind of an interesting reverse there. Though I get the notion. And I agree…everyone has interesting experiences to draw from. I prefer fiction to memoir, but I do enjoy writing personal essays. You’re a good note taker! I learned a few things!

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    • Ha ha ha, that’s very good Katie, I can see what you’re saying. Don’t they say the truth is stranger than fiction ;)

      I’m quite partial to a memoir, I have to say, but yes, I prefer fiction :)

      I LOVE taking notes Katie :)

      Xx

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  9. I don’t know about leaving myself inside everything I write – but I certainly leave behind people I’d like to be friends with! I guess there’s a little bit of me in those characters! Another interesting post, thanks, Vikki!

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  10. Most certainly, Vikki … I leave huge chunks of myself in ever book. Of course, I’v been reinventing myself for decades and minus a multiple personality disorder … there are a lot of use crammed in my head :) I can’t wait to hear the results of the critique !!

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  11. Interesting stuff. I don’t think writing about your own life is cheating at all. If you are a writer, then anything goes. Nothing is cheating. I really like the phrase: Every writer leaves parts of themselves in each of their novels. What a lovely concept. I think it is true of anything we write, whether short stories, poetry or non-fiction. We are what we write, and what we write is what we are…. I think….maybe…..Before I tie myself in further knots, it is always amusing when I re-read old work of mine and find references to the TV shows I liked or people I knew at the time. Even the way I write dialogue (I was very influenced by the way dialogue was written in Buffy the Vampire Slayer series and subconsciously absorbed it and recycled it into the teen stuff I was working on at the time). Our body of work is like an archive of ourselves, a monument, documentary evidence of who we were and who we have become, constantly changing.

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  12. When I first began writing my book, I wanted to be careful in how I worded what it was about. It is not the true story of my grandfather’s life. Instead I learned to use the term inspired by, but I did not want my grandfather as the central character. That would not work, because he was almost perfect in my eyes. No one wants to read that, so I went into the part of me that ends up in most of my writing – what I know about kids. I am around kids so much, and I read with them. I think I’m still a kid myself. Right now my son is sitting on the bed and looking at himself in the mirror.

    Memoir is tough. The one time I sat down and wrote a memoir piece. It took five minutes. It became a piece requested by two different books, but it has been difficult since for me to just write a true story about myself. Sometimes there are things writers are not ready to share.

    Sorry for the long response, but I appreciate your most very much! ~ Rebecca

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