But that doesn't mean it's all an autobiography. Many characters and stories are based on real people and experiences. But a story isn't a good story, just because it happened. A person doesn't make an interesting character simply becasuse they exist. With writing we have the awesome opportunity to take what life offers us and make it better. More adventurous, more exciting, more dangerous, more interesting, more lovely, more glamorous.
The other day when I watched the disappointing movie Adaptation I realized something: I don't want my characters to ever be in a car accident. I mean, there's nothing wrong with a car accident in a movie, and accidents are in fact very real, they happen all the time. But many stories, like Adaptation, seem to throw them in whenever they don't see any other way to keep the story going. I mean, come on, we can do better than that! Sure car accidents are common, but in writing we have the chance to create something more meaningful, more thought-through, more spectacular.
That's what I do with my youth novel. I think about the people I knew in my teenage days and the things I lived though and I make them more sparkly and funny and dramatic. The Fall Out Boy lyric in this blog title really nails it:
"And I could write it better than you ever felt it."
As writers we have the great ability to not being restricted to our own life, but to create a life we really want to live, or at least read about. That's the beautiful thing about writing.
How about you? Does your writing come from your real life?