Art imitating life in writing

A piece of writing advice that rings true to me is “write what you know.” 

If you write genre fiction, especially speculative fiction like I do, it may seem like that is hard advice to put into practice.  I’m writing stories, there’s still pieces of me and my life in there.

I’ve never time-travelled during an epileptic seizure, but I know what it’s like to have a family member with epilepsy and how that impacts on life.

I’ve never discovered that I’m a super soldier while searching for my birth parents, I know what its like to live in a family where people assume you’re adopted and how it feels to wonder if I actual was, searching through my parents files to try and find evidence of why I look so different to the rest of my family.

I’ve never been in the servitude of immortals from Greek mythology, stuck in a corrupt system, but I have strong beliefs on justice.

I’ve been an insecure girl living in a world where men are extinct where cyborgs are used for labour with my mother as the head of a corrupt government, but I do have strong political views (and a really weird imagination).

We all have things in our lives that we can transfer into our writing without it being autobiographical. That anxiety that you feel when everything in the world gets too much. That tingling you feel when love starts creeping into your heart. That sadness that consumes you when you lose a loved one. That ecstasy that sends you spirally when a dream becomes reality. That moment your heart breaks when you realise someone you love doesn’t love you back.

For me, the best writing has a sense of vulnerability to it, and although you may not be reading the author’s life, you are still getting a glimpse of their soul.

If you write, what bits of yourself have you included in your work? If you read, what are some of your favourite stories where you’ve been touched by the vulnerability of the writing?

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