To quote Mark Twain, “write what you know” because sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.
We’ve been having fascinating conversations here in The Write Factor office regarding the stories we tell about ourselves and our families. It’s really interesting to take a step back and see how we each ‘curate’ our stories and repeat those that we feel reflect us in a certain light. These stories are also a great source of material for writers.
One of our favourite family myths is the one where my brother at the tender age 10 jumped off the top of a hayrick with a sheet tied to his wrists and legs, to see if he could fly. He couldn’t – and thankfully the hay gave him a soft landing – but he’s always been one to push the boundaries, and many of his life stories could be purloined to create a fascinating character for a novel; one who loves taking risks and enjoys living on the edge of danger. I’m sure you have many stories like this in your family heritage too – you might not think so at first, but start making notes about family anecdotes and you’ll soon realise what a fascinating bunch you are.
Writers invariably plunder their real life stories to create characters and plot but the joy of creative writing is that you can lie, embroider, embellish and play God to make people and situations larger than life. Sometimes, if you are plumbing the depths of your own life story, it becomes clear that the stories you tell about yourself are limiting or self-sabotaging. Through the writing process it is possible to liberate your character from these myths that have built up over the years, and sometimes, it’s possible to liberate yourself too.
Writing can be therapeutic on so many levels. What’s your story?