Posted in Writing

What Sparks Stories?

Sharing my guest post on the author Jacci Gooding’s blog, where we’ve both talked about the inspirations for our writing

Head shot of Jacci Gooding
My author friend Jacci Gooding

Last week, I was delighted to receive an invitation to appear as a guest on Jacci Gooding’s author blog. She asked me to write on any subject of my choice, but when I read her recent post about what inspires her stories, I decided to respond in kind.

Fact Inspiring Fiction

Jacci’s post, running under the heading “You Couldn’t Make It Up”, demonstrates her classic authorly knack of spotting writing prompts all around her. Overheard snippets of conversation cry out for a back-story to be written, and friends’ anecdotes tempt an author to take poetic licence and develop them into a full-blown story. (Read Jacci’s post here.)

Cover of my short story "Lighting Up Time", written for the winter solsticeIn my guest post, I share the observations that led to some of the stories in my Christmas collection, Stocking Fillers, in my flash fiction collection Quick Change, and my most topical story of the moment, “Lighting Up Time”, which is set at the winter solstice (21st December in the northern hemisphere). Read about what sparks my stories on Jacci’s blog here. 

But It Is Fiction, Isn’t It?

Many fiction authors are horrified when readers jump to the conclusion that their work is autobiographical, or when they claim to have spotted themselves as a character in a story, despite the legal disclaimers that appear in every work of fiction that any resemblance to reality is purely coincidental. My Canadian author friend Francis Guenette writes amusingly about that dilemma on the ALLi blog (of which I’m Commissioning Editor) in this post: It’s Fiction, People!

Can any fiction author ever really write a story that hasn’t been sparked by real life in some shape or form? I’m not sure – nor am I convinced that such a story would be worth reading – and what I’ve read of both Jacci’s and Francis’s work is very definitely worth reading!

For more information about my fiction, check out my fiction section.

EASY TWEET
Talking about inspiration for our stories with @JacciGooding on her blog: https://authordebbieyoung.com/2014/12/17/sparks/ ‎#amwriting #ww

OVER TO YOU
If you’re an author, what sets your imagination alight? And as a reader, does it matter to you whether fiction has its basis in fact? Please join the conversation!

Author:

Optimistic author, blogger, journalist, book reviewer and public speaker whose life revolves around books. Her first love is writing fiction, including the new Sophie Sayers Village Mystery novels (out 2017), short stories and essays inspired by her life in an English village. She also writes how-to books for authors and books about living with Type 1 diabetes. She is Author Advice Centre Editor and and UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) Advice Centre blog, an ambassador for the children's reading charity Readathon, and an official speaker for the diabetes research charity JDRF.

One thought on “What Sparks Stories?

  1. Yes: why do people joke about ‘I’ll put you in my novel’ , or ‘Have you put me in your novel!’ The second comment is more about them than about us … I’d never put someone in my novel: people are far more complex than what we see of them, how could one do it to any degree of accuracy? And I wouldn’t want to, either. Having said that, it is of course inevitable that some degree of our own lives, esp our emotional lives, will be in what we write. Hard to write totally what one has never known. Research a historical period, and it’s going to be filtered through today’s way of thinking … However, I suspect some people deliberately write more ‘thinly disguised autobiography’ than others.

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