Mixing Real Life and Fiction

There are times when I find it difficult to distinguish real life from the fictional lives I live in my stories. Yes, I admit it…I do live the lives of the characters in my stories. Not just the heroine or hero, but all of the characters. In a sense, a writer has to live as though those characters are not only real, but are also her.

In real life, I’ve been concerned with taxes, doctor’s visits, squabbles with my siblings, weight…a whole host of itchy problems that plague modern life. At the same time, I have to deal with MacFarland, who is going through some sort of midlife crisis as he tries to determine what he wants to do with his life and with whom he wants to do it. Add to that Pierson, who is becoming more and more frustrated with her own career choices.

The difficulty for me as a writer is, how do I separate my own frustrations from the frustrations my characters are feeling? Or do I use my own life as fodder for my character’s psyches? More importantly, if my personal life continues to sail in the doldrums, how do I ensure that my characters can evolve in their own fictional lives? At some point, real life influences fictional life, but at another point, fictional life must live on its own.

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