Life influences

As a writer, I sometimes use bits of my own life and background in my writing. An example of this is that the city in the first book of The Silver Flute Trilogy Land of Midnight Days, was partially based on elements of my home town, Liverpool. Not, I hasten to add, that Liverpool is as dark and gloomy as the city portrayed in the book 🙂

As for the characters, whilst none of them are based directly on my personality, there are traits of me embedded in their story. My childhood was up and down, emotion wise. I seemed to live in a constant state of trauma, self-doubt and mood swings that made a roller coaster look stable!

I am mixed race and this made me a target for a lot of racism, back in the 60’s & 70’s, especially at school, which made me retreat deep into my inner self. I wanted nothing to do with other kids, or adults, as I both despised and hated their attitude towards anyone who didn’t fit into their narrow minded world. This in turn made me gravitate towards writing, so despite being somewhat isolated, both by other people and self imposed, it turned out to be a blessing.

The general advice given to writers is to write about what you know. This is true, even for speculative fiction. Given that fantasy is based on elements such as: magic, witches, dragons, and so on, the writer must still make their characters believable, which perhaps means basing them on people they know or have seen in a film, or on TV. It also means giving them a story that the reader can easily empathise with and emotions and situations that can engage the imagination and draw sympathy, joy, love and even hatred.

Life lessons play a huge part in the writing game and should be utilised whenever possible. So if you reach a point where you lack inspiration, maybe a trip down memory lane will help 🙂

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