Posted in Fiction

Your Odyssey

Everyone has an odyssey of sorts. If you are still in your 20’s, your odyssey is still in the beginning stages. If your are older, say in your 50’s, your odyssey is still in progress, but you have quite a life journey up to that point even more so.

We all have experiences that lead us somewhere. Maybe yours led you exactly to the point at which you wanted to be, even though how you got there wasn’t the road you wanted to take. Or, maybe it was. If you’re a writer, your odyssey is chucked full of material from which you can choose to include in your story. This goes along with a post I did earlier that talked about writing what you know. Today I want to touch on the variety of events in one’s journey/odyssey. I’ll use my own as an example.

My odyssey is in 2 parts. The first part started out in the beautiful state of Michigan, which is where I’m from. There isn’t a lack of places to camp and swim because of the huge coastline due to the lakes we have access to year round. As a result, my family camped quite a bit. The explorations, hiking, bike riding, fishing, and swimming added to the adventures. One summer at the age of 16 was the last camping trip me and my family went on together. An incident happened involving me. A moment of tragedy can happen in an instant but last a lifetime. This began the beginning of my second odyssey. From this point forward there was much I had to overcome, and it wasn’t easy. I, like many human beings, made right decisions and wrong decisions. These decisions helped me to learn and grow from. They gave me something to reflect on and use in order to mature and end up at a place in my life that leaves me saying to myself, “I made it. The journey was rough, but I made it.”

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t still decisions and mistakes to be made, but at least now I have some concrete lessons to base my decision making process on. I’m more informed. Even more, I have something I can reflect on by using these experiences in my books, which is what I did in my novel The Triunix of Time. The book isn’t about my life, but some truths lay within it. In your stories, you will embed your own truths, as many writers do. What I found by doing this is that these bits of truth enrich the story itself because you are leaving your mark. Your feelings regarding them come through to the reader by way of your story characters, your descriptions, and the like.

Don’t use all of your odyssey in one story/book (unless you’re writing an autobiography). Use them as they apply to the story you’re writing. This way, in future books/stories you will have more to use.

Posted in Fiction

Knowing

We’ve all heard the mantra ‘write what you know’. Well, what do you know? You might get stuck here, and the reason I say this is because you may not think you know enough. Trust me when I say, you do. You have a whole lifetime of experience to use in your writing. You don’t necessarily need to know anything about any one thing in order to write what you know.

In my book The Triunix of Time I have lots of real life experiences included in the story. No, I’m not going to tell you which ones (LOL). There is also included in the story dialogue from conversations I had with others; snippets. Then, the icing on the cake, embellishment. Yes, use what you know and have fun fictionalizing it and building on it.

Here’s an example:

We’ve all had at least one favorite summer; maybe more than one. What made that summer your favorite? Maybe you spent it at the beach most often and you met a new friend, or maybe you spent two weeks of it with a cousin on a farm. Yes, lets use the farm experience. Cousins are a lot of fun. If you have cousins, and I’m sure you do, you know what I’m talking about here. Let’s say you want to write a mystery, but you don’t know what to use as it pertains to setting, characters, etc. Use your experience with your cousins on their farm. Let’s say you and your cousin found a wallet in the barn while cleaning the stalls. It ended up being your uncle’s wallet. Let’s fictionalize that a bit. Maybe you and your cousins were in your early teens. Write a YA mystery involving a bag of wallets you found in a hay loft in a small barn you were both told to stay out of. You were caught by your uncle’s friend when he walked in and heard someone up in the loft. You and Johnny in your haste put the bag of wallets back in a rush and call out. “Just getting some hay for the horses’ stalls.” And on the story would go. Do you see how you could create something wonderful from one experience? By the way, feel free to steal this idea.

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