Saturday, 18 June 2011

Don't Write From Experience

Tell Me A Story

Hello AJ, can you help. I'm thinking of writing my biography. I've undergone things in my life that I'm sure others will want to read. How do I go about it?

Hi Brian, thank you for sending this question in.

Please don't think I'm being a wet-blanket, but readers probably won’t be interested.  If you aren’t already a celebrity, people mostly don't want to know. It's a sad truth. I know we are told to write what we know, but it's not always a good idea to use elements of your life in a biography. Instead, think novel.

Sometimes it can be better to use the feelings and deep emotions spawned by an occurrence, rather than the occurrence itself. So I suppose I’m advocating, ‘Don’t Write What You Know’ but, ‘Write What You Felt’.

The consequence can be a story that is rich with emotive issues, because you've already explored those emotional boundaries. 

Sometimes you can be simply too close to what has taken place if it was real life, and it can warp your writing. Instead, draw off the energy of the evocative experience, develop it, push it to a unique area and the result can be devastating! 

Be honest, unless you are a TV presenter, film-star, radio personality, or have achieved something incredible, who's going to be interested in reading about your life? Everyone has problems they overcame; we all do things with our lives. It can be a little narcissistic to think that others will find our own life interesting. 

Weave things you've undergone, into a piece of fiction, breathe life into a novel with experiences. Use already suffered emotion as a vertebral column, and who knows, you might have the next best-seller.

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