#IWSG : Favorite Personal Experience In Your Writing

Time for the Insecure Writers Support Group, started by Alex Cavanaugh.


How’s it going, writers? I’m happy with the new job I started in August, and looking forward to the holidays. Since I work for a university now, I actually get Veteran’s Day off work, yahoo!

Do you enjoy using personal experiences in your writing? I do. For example, I like to write therapy scenes incorporating my experiences as a psychologist.

I’m blessed with some hilarious friends and I like to “borrow” their dialogue now and then. When my swimming buddy Joe met my plus-sized cat, he said “That’s not a cat…that’s a cow.” Guess what one of my characters will say about his brother’s fat cat?

I’m currently writing my fifth novel, a New Adult volleyball romance titled Blocked. Although swimming was my main sport in college, I also played volleyball, and it’s a blast writing about this fun sport. My teammates and I engaged in fierce euchre tournaments, and not surprisingly this card game is making its way into the story.

What is one of your favorite personal experiences that you’ve incorporated into your writing?


If you’re feeling insecure, here’s a funny scene from the movie Young Adult to make you feel better about yourself as a writer:

21 thoughts

  1. Oh, all kinds of things in real life sneak into my novels. Conversations, experiences, observations…I try not to base too many characters on real people, though. That gets weird for me. But anything they say is fair game. 🙂

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  2. Enjoyed that video clip very much. Do I use my personal experiences? For sure, but usually in an unrecognizable, twisted-around sort of way. The best dialogue is the stuff you overhear while out shopping…

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  3. L.G., I agree that it's creepy to base a character entirely on a real person. I'm reading a book now where an author bases his heroine on his ex-wife, and understandably she's not too impressed ha ha.

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  4. Hey Simon, I'll have to observe conversations more closely when I'm shopping. I was trying to find the clip in Young Adult when she overhears teens talking and uses those quotes exactly in her book!

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  5. Jen, I love the realism the therapy scenes add to your Conduct Series. One of the things I love most about your writing is your ability to capture a character's essence so completely.My most self-indulgent novel is The Cutting Edge. The main character is a hairstylist, as I was for 15 years. All the clients within her salon are based on real clients from my salon, and almost all the conversations and incidents did occur. I changed the names and minor details to protect the innocent and hide the guilty. 🙂

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  6. Favorite scenes pulled from real life, let's see…remember the scenes in David's dorm room? Ha! I WISH! Aw, give your cow/cat a pet for me. I'm so happy your new job is working out great for you. Blocked is going to be awesome!!

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  7. I was in a store not so long ago and I overhead one lady say to another in a very matter-of-fact way, \”Oh I just left him to die on the sofa and came out to do my shopping.\” I can only hope she was speaking figuratively…

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  8. Darcia, what a lovely compliment! Thank you.A hairstylist who kills…I need to read The Cutting Edge. 🙂 We've already discussed how hairstylists and therapists have the same job, practically!

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  9. There's just no telling how one thing's gonna lead to another. You left a nice comment on Goodreads about one of my reviews, so I followed the yellow brick road to your blog. Natch, once I got here, I simply had to sign up to become your newest groupie… AND buy one of your books. Ya just never know…As for using stuff from real life in my writing, but of course! For example, years ago one of my (very genteel) cousins got so ticked off at her husband, she threw their dinner out the back door. That's too delicious not to use, dontcha think? (So I used it!)Nice to meet you.

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  10. I always use really experiences in my writing. Once, when I was about 17, a lad called me 'contagious' – I definitely used that!And in my next book I have a character whose mother is in denial about some ghostly things that used to happy – based on my mum, and my interpretation of the events.

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