Today I have a guest post from Algie, and I can honestly say it’s an awesome post!! It’s something every writer should think about and dwell upon before, during, and after they are writing. This happens whether it is fiction or non-fiction. Without further ado, I give you…
Write what you know, but be cautious with character assassination
They say that writing from experience is the best way to create a story that grips people. The ‘write what you know’ adage is important, particularly if you’re relying on plot factors which require pinpoint accuracy on, say, medical treatments or the layout of a courtroom. Get it right, and readers won’t even notice. Get it wrong and, I assure you, there’ll be reviews pointing out the problems. Meanwhile, if you’re not writing from an exact circumstance, you’ll often draw on past experiences, even if it’s simply a feeling, such as when you were dumped for the first time. Experience is an essential tool for a writer, helping us to create scenarios, bring our characters to life and cause emotional reactions within readers; people who’ve only spent moments with the books we’ve held in our hearts for many months and years. But experience is also something to be slightly wary of too because what do you do if you’re book is almost an exact replica of past events?
You might think there’s no problem at all when this situation arises. In fact, writing a story in this manner essentially allows you to regurgitate exactly what happened without much thought at all. It can be nostalgic (I find that looking back into the past has a rosy tint to it), and there can be joy in revisiting the past whilst creating something new for the future. However, if you’re writing the truth, particularly from just your point of view, then care has to be taken.
I’ve been in this exact predicament myself with my 52 First Dates series. You’ll note on the cover that it clearly states ‘Based on a true story’. I can assure you, that it really is. I went through the 52 First Dates process, met the men, had my heart broken and dealt with many crisis – often from friends – along the way. But, as much as I might have hated a date, or thought them impolite and arrogant, when I’m committing them to paper, especially within these forever-lasting ebook stories, there has to be a little caution about denigrating someone’s entire character. As I mentioned, this is only one point of view; what about how they felt? How would they react when reading the latest M/M book and recognising themselves within its pages?
You could, of course, throw caution to the wind. Change their names, perhaps change the setting and then leave everything else intact. Allow yourself to deconstruct every bad trait you believed them to have, and put it out there for everyone to see. I’m not quite able to do that, and spend time trying to balance it out a little. Yes, I’m writing these dates from almost exact experience, and yes, the men in my books are pretty much as they were in real life. But, I can’t help think about how I’d feel if suddenly, and glaringly, my personality was starting up at me from the pages of a book. If you’ve created a fictitious character, even if they might be based on someone, then you mightn’t need so much care. However, if what you’re writing is true in setting, tone, character and outcome, if it’s obvious who someone might be, then I’d be a little kinder because you just don’t know what the outcome might be.
Do you write from experience? Could you be kind, or would you let your passion lead you?
Now that David’s heading towards his mid-30s, he’s finally realised that it’s time to find a husband. But with so many men and so little time, he realises he’s going to have to be strategic if he’s ever to find his soulmate.
Thus, 52 First Dates is formed; a challenge, a scheme, to go on a date with a new man, every week, for a year. If it pays off, he’ll be in marital bliss. If it doesn’t, he’ll know that he’s fated with being the eternal bachelor. With everything to live for, David plunges into the world of dating in search of the perfect man.
The Man Plan is a 12,000K SHORT STORY, or about 37 pages in length.
M/M Steam-level: HOT!!
With David in his mid-30’s, it’s time to get serious about finding a husband. Too many men and not enough time, mean he’s embarked on the challenge of a lifetime; to date a new man every week for a year until he finds THE ONE.
With one date out the way, and many more to come, David’s realising there’s a reason it’s so hard to find a soulmate. And, with friends, lovers and lust getting in the way, finding a husband might be harder than he thought.
Friends and FRENCHMEN is a 12,500k SHORT STORY, or about 35 pages.
M/M Steam-Level: SIZZLING