I think I've mentioned this before, but a lot of the aspects of 'Ember Flame' and 'Hail Frost' come from the vortex of snarkiness that has taken over my brain.
Little, random things that irritate me like unrealistically chivalrous heroes or phones vibrating in the middle of the night find their ways into my novel. Obnoxious gossip overheard at a mall or anger towards a sibling or my phobia-like fear of crabs all make it into the rough draft.
But it's not all bad stuff. I also include my fascination with watching a fire burn out, or the smell of pine trees in fall, or my aspiration for the sibling I wish I could be in my novel.
Basically, thoughts and experiences I've had usually morph into new imagery as I write. Sometimes I do it purposefully, other times I notice it later. I think all writers do this to some degree. And I think all writers should do this... but how far should we take it?
For instance, there is a woman that I have a been angry at for years. It's a righteous anger which she absolutely deserves. I've contemplated writing her into a novel. But should I? Would that be acting on my anger in a sinful way? Since I feel the need to be secretive about it, I'm going to take that as a 'yes' and refrain from writing her into a story that gets published. I think it's okay to vent my feelings in a private diary though. I also think it's okay to take the anger I feel towards her and reflect it in my characters when they are put in similar situations. This will make it more realistic since I have truly felt what I'm writing about.
You see what I mean? There is a blurry line between what experiences you should draw on and which ones you shouldn't draw on. Sometimes, I struggle to find a balance. My writing comes so much easier to me when I am emotionally invested in what I am writing, and I find it easier to throw myself into the story-world when I have already lived that world. And yet, I have to remember that using a pen as a sword is not how God intended me to use writing. I have to be careful to keep whatever I'm feeling towards someone relegated to my characters and not to my desire to "get even".
The 'Ellie Sweet' books by Stephanie Morrill helped me quite a lot. In the novels, Ellie is a teen writer who vents her feelings by translating her real-life into a fictional novel. Only, when the novel gets published, everything becomes a lot less fictional. I highly suggest these books for any teen writer gal, even if you (like me) aren't typically a fan of contemporary fiction. They helped me decide how I wanted to handle the blurry line between reality and fiction.
So what about y'all? Do you struggle with staying on the white side of the blurry line? Or do you not have this problem at all? (I dunno, maybe it's an angsty teenager thing) Have a great week! :)