How much real life is in your fiction?

We writers are an interesting bunch. Our ideas come from a vast number of places. It could be something as simple as the look a stranger gives you at the grocery store or watching a scene play out at the restaurant. Or maybe a song. Or the weather. Or a news story you read on the internet.

Our minds take the smallest of details and spin them into 300-page novels.  It's pretty amazing.

However, how many of you have had people ask, "Are any of your characters based on people you know?" Or, "How much of your life (or other people's lives) is in your stories?" Or any combination of those types of questions.


For me, that question is simple: little to none. I've got too many original things flying through my head to make true-to-life stories fiction. However, my dear sister thinks my very first book, Broken Ties That Bind, was based off her life. Not so much.

Writing about real people and things that have happened can you put you into some dangerous territory. There are some legal issues there that can get you in some serious trouble. Which is is why I think most of us steer clear of this area or change people/happenings so much that it's not noticeable. Then again, we also have something like this nice little blurb at the beginning of all of our books:

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents, either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used factiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. Blah, blah, blah, blah-ba-de, blah.

Don't get me wrong, I think some real-life people and stories make great fiction. Great, twisted fiction. :-)  Most stories start with some basic rooted real-life idea and then get spun into something that doesn't resemble that original real-life thing at all. And then, of course, you can always take someone you know and do this:

You know you've all wanted to do this. I've actually had family members and friends beg me NOT to do this. Most of you are probably thinking people don't normally die in romance novels. LoL. That's true. But I actually write in more than on genre. I've written some pretty gritty and dark stuff.

I promise not to do this to anyone I like. *grins*

BTW, that's actually my shirt. My VERY first critique partner and dear friend, Sarah Fine bought it for me several years ago. I cherish it and sometimes where it when I'm writing.

Now you tell me, how much real life is in your fiction? How much real life do you think is in fiction you've read?

Happy Monday all!



  1. Very little of my real life ended up in my stories, including people. I probably took more ideas from movies than anything else.