Writing Your History

How much of ‘you’ do you incorporate into your stories? Is there a familiar setting from your past that you find showing up out of the blue in your writing? For me, I like houses with rock siding.

Why? Because the home I grew up in had rock siding so I’m drawn to them. Love the look. But there’s a downside. Scorpions. Nasty little critters that lived in the cool crevices, coming out to torment us when least expected. It’s amazing how fast you wake up when one of those suckers stings you, too. Ugh.

But I digress. I wanted to talk about writing.

In my first book, Grave Secrets, I have a scene where the hero and heroine visit an elderly couple on their farm, giving the heroine a glimpse into his past. A critique partner told me she didn’t think it added anything to the story and to consider cutting it. I listened, nodded my head, and seriously thought about following her advice. For some reason, though, I couldn’t leave the scene out. I didn’t know why, just that my gut told me to leave it.

So I did.

As it turned out, that scene played a major part in the ending of the book. Something I hadn’t seen coming. (Y’all do know that I’m not much of a plotter, don’t you?) LOL

The elderly couple were actually my great aunt and uncle. I changed a few things about them, except their deep and abiding love for each other…and the fact that he had Alzheimer’s. Sadly, they’re both gone now. I miss the lessons they taught by their actions as well as their words of wisdom.

I guess sometimes we just have to follow our gut instincts and drop those jewels from our childhood into our stories. If you do, I’m sure the story will have a much richer flavor. I know mine did.

Tell me, have you used something, or someone, significant from your past in your writing? If so, how do you feel it impacted your story?


About Linda Trout

I'm a retired accountant who loves a little space around me. What better way to think of new story ideas than under a tall tree, birds chirping, gofers digging, dogs barking, and cats demanding to be in your lap? When I'm totally bored, I climb on my Harley and go for a ride. That'll blow the cobwebs out of your brain.
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6 Responses to Writing Your History

  1. Susan Shay says:

    It’s a wise writer who knows when to listen to a cp and when to go with her gut feeling. (I hope that wasn’t me. LOL)
    I have an old farm house that’s shown up in several of my stories. In fact, I put it down in Texas for MAKE ME HOWL. The house is gone now, except in my books. LOL.
    Speaking of MMH, one of my beta readers suggest that I take out the Real World set up scene so I could start with Jazzy naked in the cage. I decided to let my readers meet Jazzy in “normal” mode before she went animal, but I thought long and hard about it before I did. 🙂 (No pun intended.)
    From Jazzy: She might not have intended the pun, but I loved it!
    Susan: *sigh*

  2. Linda Trout says:

    Boy, Susan. I think keeping Jazzy under control is going to be kinda hard, um, difficult. Bet it’ll be fun, though. 😉

    Yes, you have to learn what to keep and what to ignore from cp’s and beta readers. The only way to do that is through experience. A few years ago I would’ve deleted that scene without question. Now I stop and ponder it first. Still isn’t easy but I try to listen to my instincts.

    Btw, do you have a picture of the house you used in MMH? Or do you need one? The image of my Uncle Pete & Aunt Nona’s home is etched in my brain forever.

  3. Curtis says:

    I almost always incorporate a past event in my writing. I have done a few short stories, in my most recent “Eileen” I used a situation that actually occurred in my childhood. It was not 100% true as I altered it to conform with the fictional story; still it adds a flare of the personal touch which resonates with the readers. It

    • Linda Trout says:

      I’ll bet your readers are glad you do that, Curtis as it adds just a little bit more of a flavor to the story.

      Thanks for dropping by!

  4. jolenenavarro says:

    Writing about a small town in the Texas Hill Country – I have to be careful and not put too much of me in the story, but it is there. I think the bits of truth make the story richer.

    • Linda Trout says:

      Hi, Jolene!
      Yes, it’s hard to keep ‘us’ out of the story when we’re writing about a place that’s so much a part of our makeup. It DOES make the story richer, though. At least in my opinion; for what it’s worth. 😉

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