Sunshine & Chocolate & Everything Writing

Writing as if I have something to say.

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A reality show or actual fiction?

Posted by Line Larsen on October 10, 2008

“Where do you get it all from?” my mum asked apprehensively.
I looked into her kind eyes and realised she was actually worried. But where do I get it all from?
“My head” I answered and she didn’t seem the least bit reassured.

“I really like it, but I’m slightly concerned” he said.
“Why are you concerned?”
“Is this about us?” he asked. “Because you’ve said similar things in the past.”

I am not one of those writers who write about people they know. Who publish a book from a supposedly fictional small town called “Brimson”, when they themselves live in “Branson”, and add all the highly recognizable town characters to the plot. I have no wish to record my life in a published book in any way, shape or form.

That being said, I cannot take away my own influence. As I told my mum; it comes from my head. Sometimes it is my own feelings twisted into something else, pushed further or pushed back. Sometimes it is a friend’s thoughts elaborated on. Sometimes something in an other story happening to another character gets my brain storming, and I end up with a whole new idea for a plot.

Let me give an example of a writing process involving my own thoughts and emotions.

1. A thought occurs. The thought is: “Relationships can be rather limiting.” I think many thoughts following this, such as: “Actually, they are not. They are truly rewarding and the security of being loved allows me more freedom than ever before.” However, that doesn’t matter for my story or character.

2. It is no longer my thought. I start wallowing in it, indulging it. What if someone truly felt that way? What if they kept wanting something out of relationships but each and every time they would find themselves trapped? Why would they feel that way? Would it be their fault?

3. I continue to ask myself questions, now more in-depth. What happened to them in the past to lead them to this realisation? What happens when they realise it? Which type of situations or dialogues would feelings like this lead them into?

4. Sometimes I may do some research. In this case it might be about fear of commitment, other times it will be something completely different. Soon a lot of other people’s thoughts are mixed in with my own and push me even further away from the original feeling.

Everything around me inspire me and influence me in one way or the other. But I do not need to be jealous to write about jealousy or lose my child to write about the death of one. It would be terribly limiting if that was so. As most writers experience, my characters quickly start developing a life of their own, a co-existence with me inside my head.

All that being said; I often fear what my writing says about me. When I read several books by an author, it quickly becomes apparent what topics or feelings often surface in their writing process. That’s art, though, isn’t it. You have to give it your all and sometimes your all involves something personal and utterly private. I just hope whoever may recognize such patterns in me will keep their mouths tightly shut about it. Writing with worry or limits will stifle the process of finding your voice.


2 Responses to “A reality show or actual fiction?”

  1. It’s scary, but I think it’s good a bit of yourself is ending up in your writing. I’m not sure mine does. I worry my writing is too superficial.

    I’m borrowing in my latest short story heavily from a joke my dad tells all the time. I’m gonna let him know before I “publish” it. Other than that, we can’t help but be influenced by our lives.

  2. That’s what makes it so exciting, isn’t it? When you look at a painting by an unfamiliar artist and you realise you are looking through his/her eyes, into a whole new perception of reality. It’s the same with a new book and a new author. If there’s nothing of the author in there (typically novels sold in kiosks or short stories printed in women’s magazines), I feel cheated.

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