Writing about personal stuff is something that comes up around me from time to time. I have touched upon it in some of my posts, I have wondered about it in my head, I have talked about it with friends, writers or otherwise.
The other day, I heard someone ask a published author on how to go about writing about personal stuff, painful things, toxic things, hurtful things. Especially when the writing would involve not only the writer’s own life but that of others. What happens if you write about people who actually recognize themselves? What are the ethics of the situation?
Let us admit it, most fiction writing starts from fact, from personal experience. But most writers use that experience as a springboard, as a platform from where they can ask the “what if” question, so that the resultant people and world they create in their work is “faction” if you like, “fact + fiction”. I belong to this category.
Very few people are as talented and as honest as Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, who could create enduring works out of their often somewhat squalid and relentlessly experimental lives. An open life is not very easy to lead.
If you are a writer, how do you incorporate personal experience in your work?