Should you use your own life experiences when writing?

When you begin to write you imagine everyone reading your story will immediately think that the character is you. You clam up because you don’t want to tell everybody how you feel. After all what you think and feel is private.

But after a while writing short stories you come to know that the story is about someone else and you relax and tell the story.

What you don’t realise is while you are using your imagination to portray what your character is thinking and feeling, some of yourself is seeping through into your writing. You are perhaps not aware of it because you are concentrating on your character.

Recently after stating that I write crime stories, I was asked how I was able to write about crime. I told him that I write from life’s experiences. What I meant was that by reading crime novels, watching crime films, TV documentaries and reading newspapers you digest information about how and why people commit crime and you are able to write about it through using your imagination. Again it is your own personal perception of it.

A tutor once told me that you don’t have to be a murderer to write about one.

On the other hand, if you use something that has happened to you, it can enhance your story and engage the reader so much more than using your imagination.

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