Sunday, September 5, 2010

Live Life Then Write

I just finished reading THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX. It was really good. If you like dystopian or science fiction, I highly recommend it.

After I finished, I listened to an interview with the author, Mary E. Pearson. She explained that her first ideas for the story came when her daughter was diagnosed with cancer. Her daughter lived through the ordeal, but it changed the way Ms. Pearson looked at life. It caused her to ask a question: What length would a parent would go to in order to save her child? THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX explores that question, and others. The characters were complicated and believable, and I think Ms. Pearson's life experience made authentic story telling possible.

I've wondered during the last few months what I can learn from my current situation (a complicated pregnancy), and how I can channel the things I discover into my writing. I know a lot more about pain now. I understand anxiety and fear in a way that I never did before. But I've also been able to see miracles first-hand, and empathize with people who have it so much worse than me. These months have been humbling, but I'm grateful for them. I'd never choose to repeat them, but I think they've made me a better person and maybe a better writer too.

Do you draw from difficult personal experiences when you write? I imagine we all do.

20 comments:

Stephanie Thornton said...

Yes, I certainly do. I think those experiences have made me a much stronger person, and like you I would choose never to repeat them, but now I can use them.

You're going to come out of this just fine. Super Mommy!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I agree about Jenna Fox. That book stuck to me long after I read it, because it raises such deep issues. I think everyone should read it.
I'm so sorry this has been such a difficult pregnancy for you, but you're right that we get stronger each time we face a trial. And, as writers, it should give us more depth. I hope so.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

I've been thinking about you so much lately. Writing helps me make sense of difficult moments.

Riv Re said...

My heart goes out to you now. :(

In answer to the question, I do. One subplot in my book is about my character being betrayed by someone close to her. I took that from a real life experience.

Tamika: said...

We all like the sunshine and happy days, but we need the rain. It is often the only way we will grow.

I'm learning to rejoice in the hard times:)

Nicole MacDonald said...

To some extent you have to have experienced it to understand it, but then if you are a truly empathetic person it may not be as necessary..

http://damselinadirtydress.blogspot.com

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I agree with you that we all use our life trials in our writing- whether consciously or subconsciously. I haven't read Jenna Fox yet, but I plan to. :-)

Diane said...

We are always given these circumstances for a reason. I find my own turmoil is there to help and share with others. :O)

Solvang Sherrie said...

Real life influences everything I write. And I loved The Adoration of Jenna Fox.

Christine Fonseca said...

I absolutely draw the emotions from my own experiences. Great post!

Joanne Fritz said...

You are so brave, Natalie.

They're making a movie out of Adoration of Jenna Fox. Hope they don't ruin it. I've been a big fan of the book since it was published. One of the most compelling books I've read in the eight years I've been a bookseller.

And I love what Solvang Sherrie said about real life. I feel the same way. I can see many of my own experiences in my writing, even if no one else would recognize them.

Anita Saxena said...

I'm thinking about you Natalie and hope that you and baby stay healthy. I definitely agree that trials in our life can make us stronger people and writers.

Jemi Fraser said...

We do learn from all of our experiences - it's a strong person who can learn from difficult times. Good for you! Stay strong and stay healthy - and remember we're all sending you our best thoughts and strength.

Georgina Dollface said...

As strange as it sounds, I really am grateful for most of the difficult life events that have happened to me. Oddly, I even feel sorry for people who never have those moments of clarity when they really truly realize what is important in life. - G

Patti said...

When I was a teenager, I used to think that I couldn't be a good writer because nothing bad had ever happened to me (divorce, death, sickness), but I think we all draw from personal experiences and of those around us.

Sara B. Larson said...

I loved that book. It really made me think - as a parent and as a reader. And yes, I definitely think ALL Of our life experiences translate into our writing. Or else, they should be. I'm glad you can see the positive in such a difficult experience. Thoughts and prayers are still with you! Hang in there!

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

I liked that book too :)

I definitely draw from my experiences with my writing. I embellish a bit, and add some magic here and there, but the emotions are something I know firsthand--most of the time.

Good luck at the doctor today! You and the baby are in my thoughts and prayers.

Christine Fonseca said...

Hey Natalie - I left something for you on my blog...http://christinefonseca.wordpress.com/

Jennifer Shirk said...

I will have to check that book out.

But yeah, I do think we all do draw form experiences--good or bad--in our writing to some degree.

paulgreci said...

Great post, Natalie! I do tap into emotion in my writing from personal experiences. I try to relive experiences in my mind if my characters are going thru something that might provoke a similar emotional response.