Shows how to use personal and family experiences to develop characters, plots, settings, and conversations
With lively style, good humor and insight, Robin Hemley helps you turn all that you experience into fresh and powerful fiction.By learning to "reimagine," you'll focus on translating real-world people and events into characters and scenes that happen on paper for the first time. You'll think "what if" instead of "what is" in order to take control of your material and cut loose the inhibitions of real life.In these pages, you'll learn how to hone your observation skills and fill your journal with rich and vivid details. (Because, as Hemley writes, "Life is in the details, and so is good fiction.") You'll see how to decide which ideas to bring to fiction and which ones to let go. And you'll learn how to: find the right form - novel, short story, vignette, memoir - for the story you want to tell; use "triggers" to start your reader's imagination rolling; keep your fiction emotionally honest by making the right choices between "the way it happened" and what the story dictates (ask "Is it believable?", not "Did it happen?"); create composites of real people and places that fit the unique needs of your story and empower your imagination; focus your fiction. Make sure everything, every character counts - and eliminate "people who sit at the end of the bar without a role to play"; fictionalize - ethically and legally - other people's stories. Learn your rights as a writer versus their rights to privacy. (Can you use actual names? When do you need to get permission?)To illustrate how writers feed their fiction with reality, Hemley uses examples from his own work and from fiction masters of yesterday and today. At the end of each chapter, challenging exercises help you apply the basic theories and push them even further.An adventurous read, Turning Life Into Fiction will help you create fiction that's just as strange and wonderful and "real" as the life that inspires it.