Write From Your Own Life Experiences - Writer's Digest

Write From Your Own Life Experiences

It wasn’t always this way … I stared out trying to escape my life when all of sudden it hit me. Why not sit and write about it? Which was indeed the hardest thing I ever decided to do? You see, I never chose to be a writer; the writing came to me at a very young age, as a form of therapy at a dire time in my life. Unlike so many others who run from their pain, I embraced it and began this thing called writing. Guest column by Suzanne Corso, author of Brooklyn Story, a young woman’s coming of age tale (Simon & Schuster, Dec. 2010). Suzanne is also a screenwriter, stage play and documentary producer.
Author:
Publish date:

It wasn’t always this way … I stared out trying to escape my life when all of sudden it hit me. Why not sit and write about it? Which was indeed the hardest thing I ever decided to do? You see, I never chose to be a writer; the writing came to me at a very young age, as a form of therapy at a dire time in my life. Unlike so many others who run from their pain, I embraced it and began this thing called writing.

Image placeholder title
Image placeholder title

Guest column by Suzanne Corso, author of
Brooklyn Story, a young woman’s coming of age
tale (Simon & Schuster, Dec. 2010). Suzanne is
also a screenwriter, stage play and documentary
producer. One such documentary, "Hear Them Roar,"
narrated by Lorraine Bracco, inspired her children’s
book Sammy & Sue™ Go Green Too! (Beaufort
Books, 2009), an environmentally educational
book of a mother/daughter explorer team,
geared for 5 yrs and older. See her website here.
Comment on this post within 1 week, and a
random winner will win a copy of Brooklyn Story.

THE THRILL OF DIVING IN

I dove in head first, not knowing at all what I was doing, and I was able not only to release my anger, sadness, frustration and every emotion under the sun, but I was also able to realize what I love to do more than anything in the world—and that was to write. Who cared about what people would say if my grammar or structure was off? All I cared about was my story and what was on the page, and how I expressed it so that you could actual visualize it, feel it and want to read more.

THE CHALLENGE OF MAKING MY LIFE STORY INTO A NOVEL

So, here was my life journey laid out in front of me, and my biggest task was figuring out: How do I manage to change it all into fiction? It is sometimes harder that you think. We find ourselves being immersed in our own heads and hearts, and then as the words are put onto the page, we reread them and realize it is hard to see the difference. Then you have to go back and change it all. Lying to yourself for living your own life.

Within the pages of my novel Brooklyn Story, much of it is what I went through and everything that I know about Brooklyn and where I grew up. Changing the names and places were the easy parts; getting it out of my head is where it turns a bit difficult. And keeping it a fictional read even though it is somewhat like a reality-based memoir (minus the real names and real to life events).

THE SUCCESS OF WRITING SCENES OUT OF ORDER

I began with the ending then worked and flashbacked through it. I also like happy endings. So finishing the final scenes first it made it a hell of a lot easier to write the hard stuff because I knew once I got to the end it would be fine. I would be fine and my character ... well she would be fine, too. Then I got to the beginning of the novel, and thought it should begin like this: “Some people lived in the real world and others lived in Brooklyn. My name is Samantha Bonti and of course I was one of the chosen. At age fifteen, I was seduced into a life that shattered my innocence, a life that tore at my convictions and my very soul, a life that brought me four years later to the sunlit steps of the courthouse in downtown Brooklyn.” I want readers to want to know what happens next.

Well, what did happen was this: Twenty-one years after that event in my life, someone would buy my story. And it was by far one of the happiest days for me. I took my contracts, ran to church, sat and prayed. I was humbled and honored and in awe all at the same time. I finally took my rightful place in the world as the writer God chose me to be. That is why our dream and our vision and what we say can and does come true. It is yours for the asking. No matter how you write your book, fiction or nonfiction.

THE OPPORTUNITY OF CREATE FROM YOUR LIFE JOURNEY

If I can leave you with anything, I choose to leave you in thought of this. Love your past, no doubt it has made you who are, so tell us and write about. Live your life and enjoy, but really enjoy and write about it. Create your future the way you want it, hold the vision, the universe will respond and write about it within your pages. Write about what you know. Then make it all seem like it is fiction. See how you do, I think I did just great!

Editor's note: Suzanne is excited to give away a free book to one random commenter. Comment within one week; winners must live in Canada/US48 to receive the print book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you've won before. (Update: Random number was 6, and Sophia won.)

Image placeholder title

Become a Writer's Digest VIP and
get a sub to the magazine, a sub to
WritersMarket.com and much more.
(A $190
value for $50!)

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: The 3 Prime Rules of Horror Writing, Contest Deadlines, and More!

Welcome to the first installment of a new series! There's always so much happening in the Writer's Digest universe that even staff members have trouble keeping up. So we're going to start collecting what's on the horizon to make it easier for everyone to know what's happening and when.

Bell_10:25

Lenora Bell: When Fairy Tales Meet Reality TV

Bestselling historical romance author Lenora Bell discusses researching, avoiding info-dumps while still charming readers, and how her latest book was inspired by her life.

Major_10:24

Three Keys to Crafting Chemistry Between Characters

Romance author Michelle Major explains her three go-to tips for ensuring your characters have believable chemistry.

Saving Money on Your Screenwriting Career

Take Two: Saving Money on Your Screenwriting Career

No one wants to break the bank to learn how to write a screenplay. Jeanne Veillette Bowerman shares practical tips on saving money on the pursuit of a screenwriting career.

richard_adams_watership_down_quotes_a_rabbit_has_two_ears_a_rabbit_has_two_eyes_two_nostrils_they_ought_to_be_together_not_fighting

10 Epic Quotes From Watership Down, by Richard Adams

Here are 10 epic quotes from Watership Down, by Richard Adams. The story of a group of rabbits who escape an impending danger to find a new home, Watership Down is filled with moments of survival, faith, friendship, fear, and hope.

WD Poetic Form Challenge

WD Poetic Form Challenge: Quintilla Winner

Learn the winner and Top 10 list for the Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge for the quintilla.

plot_twist_story_prompts_fight_or_flight_robert_lee_brewer

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Fight or Flight

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, it's fighting time.

Garfield

Vintage WD: 10 Rules for Suspense Fiction

John Grisham once admitted that this article from 1973 helped him write his thrillers. In it, author Brian Garfield shares his go-to advice for creating great suspense fiction.

Pennington_10:21

The Chaotically Seductive Path to Persuasive Copy

In this article, author, writing coach, and copywriter David Pennington teaches you the simple secrets of excellent copywriting.