RL or Fan Fiction? When Real Life Experiences Inspire Fanfic

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by General_Kenobi_66, Feb 7, 2007.

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  1. General_Kenobi_66

    General_Kenobi_66 Jedi Knight star 3

    Oct 18, 2006
    I'm fairly new to the Fan Fiction world, and I was wondering, do RL events inspire what you write? Do things that happen to you or friends occur in a similar fashon to the SW characters, whether it's AU or Inter-movie? Or is your fan fiction world a totally seperate place? Do you simply make bad things happen to them when they happen to you, or is it very detailed? (eg: You or a friend gets into a car wreck, and suddenly Anakin crashes his speeder in your fic)

    For instance:

    This was posted in the "You know you're a Fan Fiction Writer When..." Thread, and of course, I had to read further into it.:p So, anyone have any examples to share? And what about mood? Does that affect your writing, or what you write? Or, is it like I mentioned before, and you live and write in two different worlds?

    I'd love to see opinions on either one.:)

  2. JadeSolo

    JadeSolo Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 20, 2002
    I don't even remember saying that, but it sounds like me. [face_laugh]

    Some of my stories just appear, but many were either based on something that happened, or have little tidbits that were inspired by RL. I wrote a vig about a year and a half ago about Anakin angry with the way he was viewed by the Jedi. That came directly from RL - I wanted to rant about my parents, and for some reason I started wondering if Anakin had felt the same way.

    I have a short vig inspired by C3 that I'm waiting to post before I go to C4. :p

    With original stories, I've had ideas inspired by college roommates, the area I grew up in, and the Awesome '80s Prom at Webster Hall in NYC. Even the JC gave me a couple ideas.

    As for mood, I try to be disciplined about writing - that is, write no matter how I feel that day - but mood really helps. The Anakin vig I mentioned before, I don't know if I could write something like that again unless I was experiencing that mindset full-time in RL. But at the same time, I want to be detached enough from my writing that I could write anything and any emotion if I just focus enough. It works for some genres - I can write romance, creepy horror, certain types of angst, and certain types of humor without having to put myself in a particular mood. My problem is attaching myself enough to want to write them. :p

  3. VaderLVR64

    VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 5, 2004
    I did grief counseling for couples who had lost a child through miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death. I incorporated those experiences into a vignette about Padme giving birth to a stillborn child.

    I took my oldest son's genetic illness and some of the feelings that situation brings out and used them in another vignette.

    And on a happier note, I take things my kids say all the time and work them into my stories. [face_laugh]
  4. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    I use my real-life experiences in my diary of a fire-fighter and in some of my large and one post fics
    'His only chance' on the before the saga-board is one example of a thing I have done
    'Snow and trouble' on the saga-board another and Plan B has some of it
    And of course being an archivist and working at a townhall gives many plots for fics.
  5. LLL

    LLL Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 16, 2000
    In an indirect way my fic is inspired by nothing but RL.

    I must have been raised in among the bottom .05% of sick, dysfunctional families in America. I have believed people in my family to be good people and then grown up to find out they have done unbelievable, sick things they should have been arrested for. I have grown up to realize that people I was close to my entire childhood were actually seriously emotionally ill the entire time. I have then watched these selfsame people react emotionally to news reports about the same activities that they themselves did with shock and horror and the comment, "Those people should be arrested! How can anyone do that to a little kid?" Absolutely NO memory of what they themselves did, at all. None. And then they go out into society and function as, and are perceived as, perfectly normal people.

    I've seen people sit in front of me wondering what's wrong with the children they themselves abused, and then in front of the abusee who wonders why they don't get it. Then I watch that same abusee be *completely* unconscious of their own acts of abuse, when they are angry at their parent over doing exactly the same thing.

    How does the human mind work, anyway??

    So I've done a LOT of reading to try to understand this phenomenon, with the end result that I have a very deep understanding of the behavior and thinking of people who do bad things.

    It's a natural for me to write about Palpatine. I was raised by several of them! I suppose I was curious about SW villains because of behavior I've seen, and in trying to understand them I came to understand my own family; and in trying to understand my own family, I came to understand fictional villians.
  6. furrylittlebantha

    furrylittlebantha Jedi Master star 3

    Dec 2, 2005
    Whenever I try to write without being inspired by RL, it comes out flat and fakey. My first fanfic was inspired by an experience I had with a severely handicapped young man. He had the mental development of a baby, but the sheer humanity I saw in his eyes overwhelmed me. When the people he loved spoke, he turned toward them with the most beautiful smile. So I wrote a short story about it, weaving in L/M of course. [face_love] A grandparent passed away who I wasn't really close to--and I found myself compelled to write my regret. That became a fic about a formerly Dark Luke confessing his sins (against Mara; hehe!). A lot of people I trusted let me down. So I wrote about Mara's bitterness. I could go on, but I won't. ;) So, yes, emphatically so, I am inspired to write by my experiences.
  7. Golden_Jedi

    Golden_Jedi Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jun 10, 2005
    Absolutely. RL inserts itself in my writing whether I want it or not.:rolleyes:

    The first viggie I wrote was about Luke at the end of ESB having to face the facts that he was Vader's son and that he had just lost Leia to Han. By the end he realizes the he has to let go of his illusions of a normal life and go on. In real life I had been separated from my husband for six months and had just discovered that he was seing some else. It was the moment to decide that I was going to get a divorce.The ironic part is that I didn't realize about what this viggie meant to me until after like a week of writing it... :p
  8. BigFatty

    BigFatty Jedi Padawan star 4

    Mar 9, 2005
    Spending breaks from school working in a daycare has inspired many ideas for when I write about kids. There are things that I think are funny that are said to me that I try to work into a story if it fits well. But my mind works more from people watching in real life and wanting to write stories about what I think their lives are like. And if they work out well enough and are applicable, I transfer that to different characters.
  9. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 20, 2002
    The kids I babysit influence my writing all the time, and my OC got her ears pierced the same day I did. THose are the most obvious things that come to mind, but everyday little things end up playing in, too.
  10. Jade_Pilot

    Jade_Pilot Jedi Master star 5

    Dec 10, 2005
    RL definitely influences my ff. One particular evening while dealing with my snarky 11 year old, I got up from the dinner table and headed out to walk, running into a friend who listened to my frustrations.

    I then went home and wrote a viggie about Mara dealing with a snarky Ben. was so cathartic!

    P.S. Ben lived!
  11. LilyHobbitJedi

    LilyHobbitJedi Jedi Knight star 5

    Aug 29, 2005
    YES!! All the time I'm influenced by my experiences for stories. And my moods also inspire me to write at times. I can recall several things that I've written were actually events that really happened to me, only altered slightly. I'm writing a story now where a character is forced to become a waitress and her experiences are very similar to mine.
  12. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Chosen One star 9

    Mar 26, 2001
    I've had multiple stories inspired by real life, from Obi-Wan and Anakin having to put up with a temperamental shower to when I wrote a story based on my experience as an abuse victim.
  13. LLL

    LLL Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 16, 2000
    If you listen to the commentary on the Sex and the City DVD's, practically everything they wrote in there actually happened to the writers or to someone they knew!

    So we are not alone.
  14. ROTSFan

    ROTSFan Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 25, 2006
    Yeah, I think some of the best fan fic comes from drawing on personal experiences, whether there is a strong parallel or not. If the person hasn't had that experience or something like it themselves I think it comes out more flat in a writing whereas there's more dimension to when they've experienced it firsthand.

    It could be something as simple as understanding the confusion of infidelity or knowing how military/away from home missions feel, to being a parent, that tend to lend some depth to writing. We all have our experiences so if we just write for ourselves, in stuff we're interested in, it tends to come out well.
  15. Commander-DWH

    Commander-DWH Manager Emeritus star 4

    Nov 3, 2003
    Oh man, real life is frequently the inspiration for my fics. Whether it's something we talked about in philosophy lecture, or actual events. The most obvious example of this was when I wrote a story about the heat being broken on the Ebon Hawk the week when the heat at my house broke down. You'll also notice that I have an overabundance of OCs who work as water safety personnel, i.e. lifeguards. Every single one of those was concieved the summer when I was working full-time as a lifeguard, and would do most of my plotting for fics while at work.

    Many things in my fics are inspired by reality, though nothing is really directly lifted. Except for maybe the heater story.
  16. JadeSolo

    JadeSolo Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 20, 2002
    The writers of Everybody Loves Raymond once said that they brainstormed episode plots by sitting around and talking about what happened to their families in the past week. To me that's brilliant because the weird things your relatives say and do, that's comedy gold.

    I wrote a vig about a Jedi doing laundry, because I'm like Adrian Monk when it comes to ironing, and I was that tapped for story ideas at the time. :p

    Has anyone ever written something and then had that vig "come to life," so to speak? Happened to me when I wrote about a cat. :p A couple years later my friends got a second cat that was just like the one I'd written.
  17. Lea-El

    Lea-El Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 13, 2005
    Most of my characters are based on people I know. I can sometimes hear my daughters voice when I write a scene. I use her mannerisms in the character.

    I have health problems and wrote it into my dear diary challenge.

    My husband is such a good father I use his thinking for Yoda's lessons.(He even has a crinkled forehead)

    I agree with one of the other writers if we don't use our experiences it comes out flat.
  18. yodas_waiter

    yodas_waiter Jedi Youngling star 3

    Oct 31, 2006
    Although I'm in the process of writing my first fic, I find that many of the ideas I have buzzing in my head reflects more the times we live in than my personal life. Of the 4 or such ideas I've got, plus the one I'm writing now, 2 of those involves terrorism, fear, cover-ups etc.

    Maybe it's a way of processing what's going on...or not. I'm not sure...
  19. ZebulaNebula

    ZebulaNebula Jedi Master star 5

    Feb 10, 2005
    I'd say a good bit of my work is ... especially when I'm writing humor. For instance, I wrote a bit about Ben teasing his(OC) sister that was lifted directly from my own childhood(except for dealing with Earthisms, that is).
  20. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 8, 2005
    I generally try not to utilize real-life experiences unless they absolutely could lend something to the story. Even then, I'm still careful about a particular life I'm drawing from, and what exactly I'm drawing from that life.

    I will never write anything using the facts of my own life. Absolutely not. I've had many terrible things happen to me, but I will not use my fiction as a means of therapy. Besides, the only kind of fics I could produce using my personal experiences would only wind up sounding like your typical Lifetime movie. Who would want to read that?

    Although I did have the idea recently of reviving one of my locked story threads and writing about one of my OC's having to hang out the washing on clotheslines because the dryer broke...inspired by our dryer being rather unwell for the past week. :p
  21. BrentusofGath

    BrentusofGath Jedi Padawan star 4

    Aug 12, 2005

    Mood definitely effects me. I'm naturally a very depressed person, but when I'm 'normal' depressed I can write happy things, but when I'm at my lowest, the only things that come out (generally) are very dark and depressing (surprise surprise :p). When I'm manic (that's manic not maniac thank you very much) I can write comedy and tragedy equally well.

    As for real life experiences, what are those? :p I base some of my OCs on people I know, but I don't use experiences from my life or anyone else's (that I'm aware of). Now, the difference is that I use the wisdom I've gained from certain experiences, but we all do that every day of our lives whether we're writing stories or not, but I definitely don't use my own life experiences.

    [Dr. Evil]I assure you, the details of my life are most... inconsequential.[/Dr. Evil] :p

    I hope I have managed to both answer your questions... and mystify you beyond belief. [face_mischief]
  22. Luna_Nightshade

    Luna_Nightshade Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jan 25, 2006
    Now that would be an interesting bunny. ...In Which Obi-Wan Kenobi Learns the Hardships of Doing Laundry on Tatooine... Not exactly an OC, but the picture is priceless.

    My life experiences mainly just color the mood of the story. I wrote Never a Master differently after the death of a family friend about midway through the story's writing. I was exploring the idea of love and so forth, and with my sadness that took on a different dimension. The story followed suit unconsciously. I didn't really understand what I was doing until afterward.

    But that's currently all I can think of at the moment.
  23. ROTSFan

    ROTSFan Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 25, 2006

    Brilliant writer, she is. [face_dancing]

    Ever thought of getting published, Luna?
  24. Chilla

    Chilla Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 30, 2005
    I killed one of my charas some time after my grandfather died. But later, when I wrote about how sad my major character was, I decided to let go and revive the other chara/finding a good explanation why she was still ablive.

    I put other RL things into my fics very often as well.
  25. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Oct 11, 2005
    Some months ago, I wrote a vig about Han and Leia losing their first baby, Jaren. It was from a Luke POV because the actual event affected a family friend. It was a tragedy, but the mother of lost baby was bastion of strength and faith. I was not expecting to feel as strongly as I did. I got really angry. Thus my fic was born. It is the only one that I've written that was so directly affected by RL. I'm sure my other fic have RL elements, but nothing so direct.
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