To be honest, I use the events of every day happenings in my novels all the time. I thrust unfortunate events like locking one’s keys in the ignition or stabbing one’s hand onto my characters because I find it endlessly entertaining and because it helps unite the reader to my character.
Maybe you’ve never stabbed your hand, but I bet you’ve lost your keys once or twice. Things like this help make the story real. And since I write a lot of science fiction/fantasy, the more I can make people feel like it could be real, the better.
Bigger life events I shy away from. Instead, I allow these life events to help inform my fiction instead of framing it. My mother is still, thankfully, alive, and I hope she remains so for many years to come. But I have a novel where the main character’s mother recently died.
There is the age-old adage to only write what you know, but I find this mostly an excuse not to sit back and unpack the issue with any real depth.
No, I have not lost my mother.
But I know grief. I’ve lived through losses. And while it is not exactly the same, there is a vein of similarity that can be used in my fiction.
Perhaps I will write a novel full of self-reference one day, but I’ll be honest and assure you that I will never admit it.
See what my fellow authors have to say about life events mirrored in their fiction in this month’s round robin conversation.
Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-1Dm
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Margaret Fieland http://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Anne Stenhouse http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
A.J. Maguire https://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/ (YOU ARE HERE)
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobincourtright.com
7 thoughts on “Verisimilitude – June Round Robin”
Yes, I stabbed my hand; well, actually a finger, so I know the abrupt surprise followed by pain. I agree it is our ‘mirrored’ experiences that help build fictional reality.
Me, too. I closed an early type of telescopic umbrella on my thumb. Memory of the pain, even after 4 decades, makes me squirm. anne
I’ve read, and find it plausible, that only people with empathy enjoy reading fiction. What you have described is how to invoke that empathy. Well done.
I’ve managed to do damage to my person and lose my keys so I can relate and I found your comment about these everyday things making fictional beings more relatable right on. I love the minions and I doubt it’s because they are all yellow and wear blue pants, but more because they experience many of the same emotions, hurts and frustrations that people do.
Hi AJ, I also leave out the big events from centre stage. I find it difficult, although I have had to do it for commissioned pieces, to write fiction about a story with an already revealed ending. Blocks the fictional function. anne
Re: Dr. Bob’s comment, indeed, not only do people with empathy enjoy fiction more, but the more fiction you read, studies find the more empathy you will experience. The act of putting yourself into a character’s head, feeling as they do, helps you to develop that skill. And since it’s a higher level emotional skill, one that takes many years to learn, reading fiction should be mandated by law! Grin.
I enjoyed your post. It’s interesting you focused on the small events (yes, I’ve lost my keys – many times) but shy away from bigger life events. And I tend to do more the opposite. Bob is right, focusing on the smaller, relatable things do help empathise with the characters.