Write Your Story: How to Turn Your Life into Fiction in 10 Easy Steps is out now.
Turning Fact into Fiction
You may know that my best-selling novel, The English Heart, is closely based on my own life. Or how some 30 years ago I fell head over heels in love with my Englishman. He was a Royal Navy Officer and we met at the British Embassy in Helsinki. Over the years, I’d been trying to write a fictionalized account of our love story. It wasn’t until I began a series of blog posts in 2007 that I was able to turn fact into fiction. The process of telling a true story in a novel form was something I developed while writing the weekly blog posts. It seemed organic at the time, but examining the process later made me realize that I’d used similar techniques in all of my previous novels.
I began using this same process for all of my writing. I was able to write two sequels to The English Heart, The Faithful Heart, The Good Heart as well as a coming-of-age prequel novella called The Young Heart (now free to download here). The last instalment in The Nordic Heart Romance Series came out in October 2018.
By Popular Demand
Since the publication of The English Heart, I’ve been asked to write about how I transformed a true story into a novel. My tips on ‘How to Turn Your Life into Fiction’ have appeared several sites. The Alliance of Independent Authors, the ALLi London Book Fair Fringe, and Triskele Books, have all featured my posts on the subject. I’ve also spoken at book readings and literary events. Many have asked if there is a book about my experiences in using my life as a source for my fiction books. So now, finally, I’ve compiled all of my tips on the subject in one place. I’ve limited myself to 10 points, which I believe will make it super easy to turn your life into fiction.
Write What You Know
‘Writing what you know’ or writing about your own life experiences has been a subject that I’ve been fascinated by since I began writing a diary at a tender age. During my MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, I wrote an essay titled, ‘Authors Are Vampires’. I examined the way writers metaphorically suck the life out of the people around them. Many writers will use anything they find inspiring for their stories regardless of how it makes the person they’re writing about feel. (It’s art, after all, darling!)
However, not everyone feels this bold. I certainly was very nervous writing about people I knew. And about events that had actually happened. What would those who had been involved think? Would they shame me publicly on social media? Or start gossiping about me behind my back or stick pins in a Helena Halme Voodoo doll?
With the techniques displayed in Write Your Story, I’ll show you how easy it is to turn your life into fiction without upsetting the people around you. I’ll also show you how to get inspired, how to write with confidence, and ensure that the story is engaging with strong characters and dynamic dialogue.
How to Turn Your Life into Fiction
Write Your Story shows you in 10 easy steps how to turn your life into a novel. It includes:
- How to get inspired
- Where to start your story
- Write with confidence
- Create strong characters
- Use dynamic dialogue
- Whether to seek permission to publish
In Write Your Story I show you how to change plot points, characters, dialogue, and timelines to avoid upsetting your nearest and dearest (if you don’t want to, that is!). I also devote a whole chapter to dealing with the issue of seeking permission from the significant people in your story.