On Choosing The Semi-Autobiographical

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Today, I finally gave in to the mainstream novel and decided it would become semi-autobiographical. It sort of was in ways anyway, in that it is based around the death of the main character’s dad. The hospital scene is based upon own experience of watching my dad die and the following days are based around house clearing and funeral organisation. But the main character was not me, until she sort of morphed into me, which led me to think I may as well turn her into me. Sort of. But more sort of than she was before. The family is mine, but not mine, I have a sister and a mum, these are not my sister or my mum. It feels a little strange doing it, but I’ve been inspired by watching Girls. Why not fictionalise my own life, why not me. It still feels a little self-involved so I had to look up the genre and there are, of course, well respected books in it. And indeed, it’s the stereotype that new authors write very close to their own lives. And I burn to write this story.

It is not the whole of my life, because real life doesn’t fit a nice narrative, it’s got weird bits and unbelievable bits and lots and lots and lots of boring bits. It’s like the photo above. That’s me, and yet it’s not me. The majority of me is hidden, the colour has been manipulated, it’s taken only from one angle. It is not authentically me, it remains authentically a photo of a person who is real, but it is a fiction. That’s what I hope to achieve. A picture of my life, of my reality, but a specific story in that reality, which, when excised of the parts which don’t work in service of the story, becomes, in the end, fiction.

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3 responses to “On Choosing The Semi-Autobiographical

  1. Best of luck to you with this decision. I chose this route because it’s easier to build a story about “weird and unbelievable bits” when you’re first starting out.

  2. That’s a good way to go about it too! I also do supernatural/horror so I probably am siphoning off those for that leaving this rooted heavily in reality. But then I’m only half way through so we’ll see how it works out!

  3. Love how you put this.

    “It’s like the photo above. That’s me, and yet it’s not me. The majority of me is hidden, the colour has been manipulated, it’s taken only from one angle. It is not authentically me, it remains authentically a photo of a person who is real, but it is a fiction. “

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