Sunday, March 14, 2010

Do Authors Write from Experience?


Good Afternoon,

Happy Sunday! I hope everyone is enjoying their day even though it’s cloudy and gray in my part of the world. Relax, I’m not complaining as I’m happy to be alive. Smile.

Today, I’m going to give you a smidgen of a look at how an author writes their story. I was at a retiree luncheon for TWA employees last week, and one of the guys I worked with had read my very first book, The Catalyst. This book isn’t in print now, but I hope it will be again some day. Sorry for my digression. Lol Those who know me well know I do that a lot.

This mechanic told me he enjoyed my story, and he liked the progression of showing the emotion of the rape victims and how I advanced to the sex scene. Thanks, Ralph B., you put me on cloud nine that day.

I have had people ask me if I write from my experiences. All authors use some small measure of their experience, but usually not exclusively. In The Catalyst, the only thing I had knowledge of had to do with the youngest daughter in the story but even that was not the same situation. What I used for her was a combination of traits from several people in my life.

For writing the emotion of rape victims, I asked questions of a friend of mine, Cheryl, a retired Kansas City Police Department detective. Her answers really surprised me. One thing I learned from her is how even prostitutes have a hard time getting over becoming a victim of rape. Also, she told me that many homosexuals are raped and are afraid to come forward because there is not much sympathy for them.

So many rapes go unreported no matter the gender, and it’s sad that they feel nobody will help them. Victims feel tainted and will remain afraid if they don’t seek help. Most police departments will recommend counseling and even give you a name of a doctor to make an appointment with. No one can get past a heinous crime by themselves. One of the things recommended for a victim is to take defensive courses so they feel in control . Once again, I have digressed but this is an important message.

To get back to the question of do authors write from experience, the answer is yes and no. lol My very first book was about me, my mom and her friend in Hong Kong. That book didn't sell. A few years ago, I threw that manuscript away. To write about my life would bore everyone to death as I spend most of my day at the computer writing, promoting my books or checking email

As an author it’s my job to learn how my characters will react in real life situations. I hope I have done that in all of my books.

Thank you for your time.

Sandy AKA Sandra K. Marshall
http://www.skaymarshall.com
http://www.eirelander-publishing.com/addiction.htm

12 comments:

K.T. Bishop said...

Half of the books I've written have come from personal experiences. The College Love 101 series, I did at Red Rose Publishing, revolves around a girl that I fell in love with 20 years ago in Nashville.
Picking Cotton, part of the Cotton series, revolves around the most fascinating girl at my high school...

Sandy said...

Thanks, K.T. I admire someone brave enough to write about their own experiences.

Jill James said...

Sandy, wonderful post. As writers we pour a little of ourselves into every story we write. It may be a favorite saying, or location, or perfume.

BTW, it is rape survivor. We are only victims if we let ourselves be.

Sandy said...

Thanks, Jill. Glad you came by.

Thanks for the correction, Jill. I'm glad to know that.

April Ash said...

Yes...we all write using some degree of experience in our stories. I always feel there's something of "me" in what I write. I think writers "fall back" on what's familiar...and that's events/people from their background.

Christie Craig said...

Sandra,

I think writers use emotion with imagination. We've all been scared at one of or another, we just tap into our own fears and imagine the worst. I think my books give insight to who I am, but it isn't always true life experiences.

Great post.

robynl said...

whatever you write from Sandy, it is great. Just keep up the good work.

jridgley said...

I agree with the idea that we use life and imagination to write books...if it were so easy. If I did really use my life as a spring board...even the dog would refuse to use the papes.

Sandy said...

Thank you, April.

Sandy said...

Thank you, Christie. I agree.

Sandy said...

Thank you, Robyn. So glad you think what I write is good.

Sandy said...

LOL Thanks, Judy.