At first I wrote my story as an autobiography, which was ready for publication. But then I stopped and thought about the pain, the regurgitating of my personal life. I thought about my family, friends, and the anxiety of putting my soul into the public domain again. It was just too overwhelming. I worked hard to move away from the past story, and I didn’t want it to resurface in the present. So enter auto-fiction, the not-so-new style of writing, gaining serious traction in literary circles. I am now editing Eventide Love as an auto-fiction psychological thriller. Some parts of my novel are very much based on my personal experience, whereas others are not. It’s been tough getting down to it, finding the focus, but finally, after a big internal struggle, I am on the way with the new edit.
Writing as auto-fiction, I still have to get to the story’s emotional truth without accurately writing the facts of an experience. It is fiction. However, the core message remains the same. Auto-fiction’s power and magic comes from allowing you to shift a story to make it even more faithful to that core. As the old adage goes, people do not remember what you say, but how you make them feel.
Everyone likes to think they’ve got a story to write. Still, the practical act of writing one can feel quite daunting. Often you might have had an experience that has made you want to put pen to paper. Still, perhaps you don’t fancy a tell-all memoir that everyone you know will read.
Auto-fiction is a term used in literary criticism to refer to a form of fictionalized autobiography. That’s the strict meaning of the word. It can also refer to fictionalizing a real event of the writer’s life
Don’t worry about the ‘auto-fiction’ label;
Are you even writing ‘auto-fiction’? It’s hard to say when the definition itself can be blurry. . The only important distinction while writing is whether something is fact or fiction. Discussions about what labels to give it can come later.
Emotional truth can be more potent than factual reality;
When you are writing auto-fiction, getting to the story’s emotional truth is what you want to achieve. It does not mean you have to make the peripheries of the novel fact. It is fiction. Focus on the core message you are trying to convey and find the best way to tell your story to get to that point. Auto-fiction’s power and magic come from allowing you to shift an account to make it even more faithful to that core. As the adage goes, people do not remember what you say, but how you make them feel. That is your foremost thought while writing: feel the emotion.
Set your protagonist free;
It is essential to separate yourself from your characters for the purpose of writing fiction, regardless of how much is based on reality. This can be a challenging mental shift to make, mainly when you are writing in the first person and on an issue you have experienced first-hand. Try to make your character distinctly different from you in your mind. Perhaps your protagonist drinks her coffee black, even if you drink a latte, for example. Do whatever it takes. To succeed in converting your reality into fiction, your protagonist must have their own identity.
Exercise – Write down your protagonist name, date of birth, birth, family relationships, what they look like, quirky features, physical characteristics, interests, where they live, etc… This will give you a sense of the character when you start to write. And remember, it’s fiction.
Draw from as much of your own experience that you want;
It is entirely up to you how much of your own experience or story you put into your writing. You could pour in every detail, or it could be that the concept alone is based on your experience and nothing more. For any kind of fiction, there is no correct balance to which you must follow. Maybe you want to let your creative mind run with the story; there is a magic in not knowing how or where your creative mind goes. It’s up to you to find your flow and what works for you. In one of my writing courses, the tutor told us to do something we always do or a place and to observe our normal differently. Notice what we never did before, the mundane, which does not seem significant. It will help us shift the protagonist to a fictional character. That tip is undoubtedly working for me.
Exercise – Take one emotion that you have experienced and describe it within an imagined set of circumstances and surroundings. ‘
Eventide Love – Links in the menu bar – are short stories taken from my story. They represent my ongoing editing from fact to fiction.
Auto-fiction is a term used in literary criticism to refer to a form of fictionalized autobiography. That’s the strict meaning of the word. It can also refer to fictionalizing a real event of the writer’s life.
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