Creating fiction from non-fiction: Because I’m a woman and because I can


I’ve been living in my new apartment for almost a month now and it’s beginning to feel like my own. I haven’t finished putting up all my pictures or setting up my office yet, but I’ll do that when I’m ready.

The neighbourhood was familiar to me before I moved here, but the living alone thing is totally new, as I’ve said before.

I haven’t lived solely for myself before. When I grocery shop it’s only for me. When I clean it’s only for me. When I relax it’s only for me. The post box is only mine. I didn’t realize how significant these things would be. It’s the small details that kind of hit me.

And of course I invite people for dinner or my son comes by so sometimes I cook for others too and clean my place because I’m going to have visitors. But most of my time is made up of moments for me.

And because I am a freelance writer and editor, I work from home too. And I’m finding myself far more productive and my creative juices are flowing with this new aloneness that I’m living.

And of course Virginia Woolf had it right in her series of lectures called A Room of One’s Own. She speaks to not only the literal need for our own space, but also the figurative essential of women having a place in fiction writing, which entails us having a free space in our own minds.

The interesting thing for me is how my non-fiction life is transforming my fictional world.

It’s true that this blog is non-fiction. It’s about me and my life after all. But there are pieces of my fictional characters (from my novel) in here too. They sneak in because we are never totally separate from our work.

And so when that fateful interviewer inquires, “How much of your novel is autobiographical or based on real life?” We can honestly say, “All of it, and none of it.”

To me there’s really no distinct separation.

That doesn’t mean I’m losing touch with reality or anything like that. But it does mean that I see the subtle parallels between who I am writing my blog and who I am writing my novel.

Though one is distinctly based on real life and the other not, who’s to say that my novel isn’t real as well since it comes from my own imagination, which was created from my non-fiction reality.

I like this idea very much because for me it kind of explains how my characters take on a life of their own. Because they so do. They often make choices and say things I didn’t plan for them to do or anticipate coming from them. The words that come out of me are like living beings unto themselves.

That’s really rather life transforming actually.

I’m like a Goddess creating my characters’ worlds, but at the same time they’re deciding who they are, so I have no real control over them after all.

I totally love that idea. I’m a channel for their coming into being.

And I discovered this by moving into my own place and learning to live for me and no one else.

How exciting is that?! I think I’m really going to love this, in fact I already do.






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