One of the easiest places for a writer to draw inspiration from is their own life; after all, that is what they know best. While this is a great source, many writers struggle to remove themselves from what happened in real life and what should happen in their fictionalized story. One common result in writing a story based on a real-life experience is including irrelevant details. It’s easy to want to pour in each moment in the exact way that it happened, but this leads to character traits that are simply irrelevant to the plot line. The story becomes congested, and the main plot can get completely lost.
Linking to the previous dilemma, many writers struggle with letting go of the events as they occurred in real life. While the story may be good as is, it’s okay and necessary to change details. The story isn’t required to follow the path it did in real life, and shouldn’t. Writers should follow what’s interesting even if it changes some of the details. While it may seem like the person a character is based on wouldn’t make certain decisions, the character is not that person. People and plots must adapt to make the story more dramatically interesting.
It’s important to remember that as soon as the story goes on the page it’s no longer real-life, it’s simply fiction inspired by life. A writer must let go of real-life occurrences and be willing to make changes and let go of certain details for the betterment of the overall plot and story.
by Hallie Eickhoff