“Hey,” Jenny asked me one day, “isn’t this character doing like what we talked about the other day?”
I glanced over, looking down at the laptop. It had one of my recent stories. I was thinking about expanding it more, but I wasn’t sure at the time. I did recognize the character’s actions though.
“Yeah,” I agreed. “I must’ve been thinking about our silly pancake idea when I wrote it.” I shrugged like it was nothing. “I expanded a bit on the idea there though.”
Jenny nodded, but not to agree. Her face turned pale. She looked away as if she couldn’t comprehend it. I’m a fiction writer, but my life comes through my writing. The thought scared her.
The more I looked at my writing, the more I realized my life was in my stories more than I wanted. Some characters mimicked people in my life. For almost every story, a character acted like me. The disconnected family I had reflected in my stories. It was all there, right in front of them.
Despite how scared Jenny got, I didn’t think it was bad. Life should inspire me to write, to get away. Of course, some of my life leaked out into my writing.
When I took non-fiction in college, I learned how to control how much of my life came out in my writing. I saw the signs more. I thought I’d help my friends and family not worry by limiting how much of my life I brought into the stories. But that wasn’t always the case.
Some of my writing became bland and weak. I couldn’t figure out what happened though. I didn’t realize that taking my life out of stories would also take the life out of the stories.
I didn’t control my writing after that. I let small clips of my life flow in and out. My words came to life again.
No one can take life out of their writing and expect to write a great story.