How do you escape from what always ends up being autobiographical? Do you ever? :p
Everything you write is always going to be somewhat autobiographical because everything you write comes from you, and your brain! One time this pretty famous author, who I won’t name, came and did a talk at UNC and said that he never took anything from his own life and put it into his stories. Afterwards, my whole class agreed that was total bs. Your life will influence your writing in ways that you don’t even realize—and this guy’s stories mostly took place in the neighborhood of the city where he grew up!
Even if you’re writing about an alternate universe a million years in the future, some of your life is going to pervade the characters or the events that take place or which themes you decide to focus on. I’m sure tons of characters in LOTR are similar to people Tolkien knew in real life (actually, does anyone know anything about this, specifically?), and that a lot of the themes in those books are based somewhat on things Tolkien felt passionate about outside of his writing, too.
What I find happens to me is that I take elements from my life and shake them up—so I’ll combine the traits of two or three people I know into one character, or an event that happened to me when I was seven will happen to one of my characters when he’s thirteen. It’s like I take all of my memories and opinions and the people I know and put them in a blender and out comes a story.
Woof I’m having a hard time articulating myself this morning, so does anyone else have any more advice for findingakindoflife on separating your writing from the events of your own life?
Right now I hate everything I write and I think this is connected with the fact, that I just read one of the best books I've ever read. Seriously, after every page I've written I am thinking: "Oh man, couldn't this sound a little more like ..." and so in the end I delete everything. I'm sure a lot of other writers have thoughts like these from time to time, but at the moment I'm really freaking out about it and I want to ask you for an advice how I can deal with this... any idea would be great!
I totally get like this too. You read something great, and then you get SO inspired to write something yourself, and it just pales in comparison.
But first of all, you’ve got something right: You’re writing pages. We always want everything we write to be great, but sometimes I think you have to get the shitty stuff out of the way so that you can eventually write your way to the good stuff. Writing is a skill like any other—you wouldn’t expect a gymnast to be able to do a backflip, or a painter to paint the Mona Lisa, every time they created something, right? Just keep at it.
Another suggestion for wanting to emanate your writing heroes: Study why you like your favorite authors so much. Do they craft awesome metaphors? Can they seamlessly weave multiple story lines together? Etc. Then see if you can strengthen your technique in those areas. That way, instead of jumping into something thinking, “I want it to sound like this”, you can make your writing strong in the same way that your favorite authors do.
Hope that helps!
Any other suggestions for ideartist?