Into every story goes a part of the author’s life experiences, beliefs, and personality. There’s no denying it. We don’t only exist in the words we use in dialogue and descriptions but also in so much more. While the stories we write are not us or are exaggerations of who we are or different elements of our lives, there’s no denying that underlying all the characters, all the events, all the good and the bad, we are there in some form.
I’m not saying a thriller writer is a bad person or that a horror writer is a sociopath. Writing is as much of an escape from the real world as reading. We restrain ourselves in the real world. Every single one of us wears masks and plays different roles. We may have our selfish tendencies or desire revenge on someone who wronged us, but we know that to live in a civilized society, we must follow a code of conduct. Writing is an escape into other possibilities, where we can explore the consequences of our basic emotions.
I’m a soft-heart but a very reactive person by nature. I nearly pass out at the sight of blood yet I can write about monsters ripping each other apart (Tiger Born and Legend of the White Dragon). I’ve watched a lot of shows with fantasy violence, but I would never dream of hurting anyone in the real world. There’s something safe about knowing that when you hurt a character you aren’t actually hurting anyone. However, there is an emotional attachment, because of that element of ourselves that we bring to the story.
When we write, we are each and every one of those characters that the readers experience. As long as we’ve experienced kindness, we know love. As long as we’ve experienced loss, we’ve experienced sorrow. As long as we’ve experienced hope, anxiety, anger…we are all human. We can relate that through our characters.
But there’s more, far more. We use what we don’t know through research, but much of what we draw upon comes from our own experiences, directly or indirectly. I use what I observe, what I learn from others, and what I directly experience. I watch, listen, and learn the details of everything around me, probably far more closely than anyone realizes. I have an analytical mind that can drive me crazy at times trying to find the cause and effect relationships in everything.
Most importantly, though, our hopes, dreams, and wish-fulfillments are carried out in our stories. Unfortunately, even our fears, but perhaps that’s not a bad thing. We write to express ourselves in many ways–to overcome hardships, to explore impossible possibilities beyond our lives, and to understand the world in which we live. Stories are enriched by the lives of the writers, and the experiences we gain in exploring the fantasies presented in our stories also enrich our lives as writers.
I thank every one of you for allowing me into your lives through my stories, and I hope that I have brought something positive to you through the themes that run through them. I’d like to continue being a part of your lives through my stories. They may be science fiction and fantasy, but they still contain messages of hope for a brighter tomorrow, dealing with loss, and looking for the best in people.
To thank you for staying with me, I’d like to reward one commenter of this post with a signed paperback from the books I have available. I’ll draw a name Sunday night (Jan. 26th).