character development

by Mina
(Bath, Avon)

Question: I am currently writing a book whose protagonist is loosely based on my own experiences. How do I move from autobiography to fiction?

Answer: So you want to take your own experience and base a fictional work on it?

I suggest you start with a brief summary of the story - use the 8 elements of plot to create your summary. (See

Then ask yourself what one thing you could change to turn it into the kind of story you would enjoy writing.

For instance, you could change...

* the setting (time as well as place)
* the genre (romance, mystery, literary, fantasy, etc.)
* the main character (sex, age, occupation, etc.)
* any other key detail

Create new plot summary with the change. Make a list of questions a stranger could ask about it. Brainstorm possible answers to these questions, and incorporate the answers you like.

Even if you only get part-way through this process, you should have a very different story to work with, that still retains something of the original.

From then on, develop the story just as you would any other work of fiction.

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