Monday, September 14, 2015

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now #330 -- Biographical Material

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Yes. No. Sometimes. Maybe.

How's that for an answer?

The truth is, like in all things, more complicated than a simple yay or nay. I don't ever intentionally set out to write autobiography or even biography, but I can't help but have elements of myself and people I know crawl into the the stories between the cracks in my conscious thought.

For example, when I was working on a Southern Fiction lit story years ago -- called Big Bull, about a Cigar Store Indian -- I noticed that I was working through my own feelings of growing up without my father around. Not only that, but I think I imposed hurt from some of my step-dads onto that story as well. It was cathartic, but not designed to be so.

Another example... I used to work with a girl named Missy, and when she was about to smile, she would bite down on her bottom lip. So I stole that expression from her and have used it ever since. There's a little bit of Missy in many of my stories.

But I find that kind of thing is best served in piecemeal, rather than wholesale.