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Experiences in Writing . . .

Posted by CW64 on October 23, 2009

Of all those on the previous list, experience would be the most significant, if not the most personal.

As a writer, I have often contemplated which experiences are significant enough to write about  (as opposed to those that are not) and what I would achieve by writing about them.

Next: In the beginning . . . .

 

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3 Responses to “Experiences in Writing . . .”

  1. Experienc3es are important in the non-fiction genre but they are of little relevance in fiction. Certainly they can create fodder for the feed so so speak meaning they can help build a story but they are not really necessary otherwise. If you are using personal experiences to create a sense of realism in your setting or other events in the story they are certainly important. However, they have little basis for the story itself unless you are fictionalizing something in your own life.

    • CW64 said

      Experiences are important in the non-fiction genre but they are of little relevance in fiction. Certainly they can create fodder for the feed so so speak meaning they can help build a story but they are not really necessary otherwise.

      This in incorrect. Personal experiences have inspired and fueled fiction for centuries. One excellent example would be Chretien de Trois, whose accounts of King Arthur and Sir Lancelot during the late twelfth century was, in part, based on his observation of King Henry II who reigned England and France at that time (yes, the actual seed of the legend of King Arthur goes back to the mid-fifth century with the legionnaire chieftain Arturo, but de Trois’ depictions were largely influenced by on Henry II, as several parallels can be seen between the king’s life and the stories that de Trois wrote). Many other examples exist, and I will eventually delve into them as time goes on. For now, rest assured that a writer’s personal experiences can and do provide inspiration and insight for non-fiction as well as fiction.

      A personal experience regarding pool hustling can be viewed in Ringers, a short story that revolves around a group of young inner-city pool sharks. The story is fiction, but my insight of the game and hustling fuels the plot and brings life to the characters. One professor has commented more than once that those works of mine that reflect my personal experiences are more vivid and alive than those researched, although he favored a couple of my ghost stories as well (these, too, were based on my own experiences, to some extent, as well as research). Born to Be Wild, another short story, deals with my early submersion into the hippie culture of the late-1960s and early-1970s (this work will serve as a primary showcase for the next post, which I will leave sometime tonight). In it, a young boy is taken up in the daily lives of a group of hippies residing in his house at the time. This experience has shaped him just as it has shaped me; much of the insight and imagery conveyed through the story would not have been as profound had it not been for my own experiences.

      The entire rationale behind the importance of personal experiences serves as the foundation for the realist movement, and many famous writers fall into this camp. I will dare say that even writers in other camps rely on the insights of personal experiences as well.

      *****************************************

      If you are using personal experiences to create a sense of realism in your setting or other events in the story they are certainly important.

      That is exactly right! That’s what it means when personal experiences serve as a source for fiction. Just because the stories do not match particular personal experiences to the last detail doesn’t mean that those personal experiences are not a viable source of research for a story.

      As the saying goes: Write what you know, which doesn’t necessarily mean that one should write accounts based solely on what one knows, only that writers should not discount personal experiences by any means.

      *****************************************

      However, they have little basis for the story itself unless you are fictionalizing something in your own life.

      As I said, this is wrong. Please read above.

      I guess that you and I disagree on this, so why don’t we agree to disagree? Can you find any account or support for your claims?

  2. You actually repeated what I said. Riectly they have no bearing on fiction which is correct but the experiences can be used to build a story, exactly what I said and you repeated in many more words.

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