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Monday, August 17, 2009

Drawing from Experience

One of my best friends came over on Friday night. She and her two little girls stayed the night. She's been my best friend since fourth grade. As we lay on my bed and giggled like two school girls, I thought of all the experiences we've been through. Man, we've been through it all, really. Quite a soap opera it would make.

And then it dawned on me yesterday in church, when I was about to pull my hair out because the baby wouldn't stop screaming and hitting me. I could write about us. Not call us 'us', of course, but take those experiences and give them to my characters. I got totally, totally excited for it. Ours is a very rich friendship, where we clung to each other even though we didn't necessarily agree with what the other was doing. We stood by each other.

We write about what we know, but also about what moves us. Boy, these experiences in high school moved me. They impacted the rest of my life. And I kept a diary. The kind that you write in every day.

It adds a whole dimension and depth to my characters. I know what their future has in store for them. And it's not always pretty. But we make our own paths with the choices we make. And I'm sure most everyone will be able to relate.

3 comments:

Stephanie Faris said...

Characters are best when we yank them right out of our own life experiences. The problem comes when you put in character traits that could offend someone else in your life. I've made that sacrifice before and wondered what would happen if it ever got published and the person read it.

Karen Gowen said...

Stephanie, I guess that's why all those books have that disclaimer at the beginning...about this being a work of fiction and any resemblance to actual characters is purely coincidental...we all say Yeah, right!...but still, the disclaimer has to be there doesn't it?

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

I will actually tell her the character is based off her, LOL. I know she'll be touched...she's the kind of friend that I used to hand my diary to and say, "Read and get caught up on my life."

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