Fiction, Writing

Dreams, Reality & Writing

Writing non fiction and writing fiction are two very different activities. When I was writing my non fiction book, there was lots of research to do. Facts need to be correct and verified. Information needs to be put together without seeming like a boring lecture. That’s a challenge in itself. But when I started writing my fiction books, I realised how easy it is to cross the thin line between fact and fiction. In other words, how much of my own life and thoughts do I want to share with my reader? My protagonists all have some of me in them; either in the way they talk or behave. Maybe a shared habit. Some shared experiences. Even the surrounding characters are some way linked to my reality. They may not all be based on people I know but most of them contain fragments from people I have come across in my lifetime. Personality traits, likes, dislikes, lifestyle.

I was recently telling some author friends how I like to make up fiction inspired by my own wishes and dreams. For example, when I wrote My Singapore Fling, the 30+ year old female protagonist Dipa, was doing something that I wished I had done – have a no strings attached fling. Then when I wrote my latest book, The Cheesecake Thief & Other Stories, it was during a time that I was missing my favourite aunt. I don’t have any siblings of my own but have spent a lot of time with my mother and her sisters and like to imagine how they would talk and act during their shared childhood.

I believe that some authors are good at keeping a divide between their personal and writing lives. Unfortunately, the two aspects overlap in my case. I asked myself last night if that was a good thing or a bad thing. Well, I think it is a good thing because I get to write out my feelings and feel lighter. Plus, my readers find a high degree of empathy in my stories and characters with the reality immersed in them.


What do you think?


3 thoughts on “Dreams, Reality & Writing”

  1. The very first chapter of my very first book was semi-autobiographical. But very quickly I realised that there was an unlimited pool of imagination to fish in. So no, very little of myself in my fiction, though of course it is coloured by places and experiences I’ve known.

  2. What always hit me when writing, whether fiction or non-fiction, is how little I know and how much research I have to do in order to ensure character, backgrounds, whatever are accurate.

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