Drawing from real life as a writer is not only helpful but also crucial in my opinion. What you draw out is what matters.
Taking your cue from real life, use these three things to strengthen and enliven your fiction.
Read news stories or talk with your neighbors and friends about their life experiences. Ask them why they did something. Their answers can give you exactly what you need for character motivation. This is the pull, the draw of your characters in the story. Why did he move to a small town? Why is she afraid of love?
Mannerisms, nervous ticks, repetitive motions, reactions. All of these things make up real life but are often overlooked in novels. Observe those around you. A word of caution though, don’t use too many of these things too often or you will turn your reader off. Make sure that a trait or mannerism has a purpose (like a nervous habit that gives your main character away).
Characters are no more than words on a page until you give them life. This life stems from the genuine emotions your characters show. Give your reader something to hold on to. Observe people at the mall, at airports, or walking down the street. See the emotion on the faces of those around you and learn to depict those emotions in your stories.
The beauty of writing fiction is the ability to recreate real life in an entertaining manner. Don’t be afraid to let your day-to-day life enter into your fiction, but make sure there is a purpose behind it.
Emilie lives in Washington, D.C. and fills her time with creative pursuits. She writes, takes pictures, reads, plays guitar, and drinks too much coffee. She’s a member of ACFW and currently working on a romantic suspense series while dreaming up a YA dystopian series. She’s got a soft spot in her heart for animals and a love for the mountains of the Pacific Northwest.