Most authors write about people and places they come across in real life, experiences they’ve had or want to have, and stories they’ve encountered before. Do you? Do you write autobiographical fiction?

Notes on autobiographical fiction I’ve read recently

Some of the last few books I have read made me think of how authors incorporate real-life experiences and people into their works of fiction.

I read Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises recently, which outlined how Hemingway infiltrated a coveted literary circle in Paris when he was still an unknown author. Once in (or on the outskirts of) the circle, he drank the nights away with newfound acquaintances. He even instigated some drama in the circle himself. He coordinated trips to see and participate in bullfights in Spain with some of his new acquaintances, and more drama ensued– illicit love affairs and barfights, etc. Then he wrote about these people and experiences in The Sun Also Rises, his first published novel. Most people from his circle, on whom most of the characters in the novel were based, never spoke to him again after the novel was published. And that indicates how autobiographical the novel was.

I also read It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover recently. The story was based on experiences her mother had, according to the author’s notes at the back of the book. And I read Trust by Hernan Diaz. This book was based on characters and events surrounding the financial depression of the 1930s.

So, my current reads have me wondering: how often do authors use autobiographical information in their fiction? Is fiction that’s more autobiographical better?

Notes on autobiographical information in my fiction

In my current work in progress, I am debating whether or not to include characters based on real-life individuals. Luckily, the characters wouldn’t be based on individuals I know personally, only individuals I’ve read about or seen in the media. Basing characters on people I’ve never met has its own set of challenges, too, however. Because I don’t ultimately know these people, I’m not sure if I’ll get their personalities and mannerisms, and quirky characteristics right. Yet they are still fictional characters, so perhaps that doesn’t really matter.

I do know without a doubt that I’m going to continue to include real-life events that have occurred in the current novel I’m writing. Although, some of the events will likely have different outcomes and be much different than what’s occurred in real life.

Stay tuned! I hope to start sharing some more specific information about my work in progress as soon as I can.

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