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Writing fiction based on real life experiences

Guardian Masterclasses

Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 10:00 AM - Sunday, July 6, 2014 at 5:00 PM (BST)

Writing fiction based on real life experiences

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Event Details

Learn how to use your experiences to give fiction the ring of truth

Real life is the greatest font of unbelievable truths. It's no wonder so many writers exploit their own lives as sources of complex relationships, dramatic events, observational details and pithy dialogue. But knowing how to weave elements of real life into a work of fiction requires some skill to maintain the ring of truth without being too slavishly literal.

This highly practical course uses illustrative examples to help you develop strategies for turning the raw stuff of life experiences and memories into fiction, including the decision making, editing and transposing techniques necessary to making fictional sense of factual reality. This course teaches you how to ask the right questions to better understand the thinking behind your own words and actions objectively, uncovering rich new seams of emotional and experiential detail.

This course is for you if...

  • You're a new writer planning to draw on your own experiences as material from which to create a believable and intimately observed novel
  • You're a more experienced fiction writer keen to explore new territories of inspiration and realism

Course description

This is a practical, intensive course designed to help writers of any level of experience access and utilise elements of their own lives within their fiction writing. Topics covered on the weekend include:

  • Using prompts: how photographs, letters, significant objects and newspapers can create context and trigger memories and story events
  • Reconciling fiction, fact, narrative and the writer – including questions on the psychology of self
  • Guide to types of autobiographical fiction, including how to create unusual maps of periods of our lives to help explore experience
  • Selecting the right material: basic storytelling and editing decisions, including how to join the dots between disparate events to create lively plots
  • Creating composite characters with depth and purpose

Tutor profile

Steve Attridge's work includes 15 books, a dozen TV series, seven feature films, documentary dramas, TV films, stage plays and poetry. He also acts and directs – last year he performed his own show at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Awards include an RTS for Best TV Drama Series, two BAFTA nominations, an Eric Gregory Award and two Writers Guild Awards. His last novel reached number four in the Kindle Singles Bestsellers. He writes for adults and children. In another life he worked as a performance poet. Find out more about Steve on his website.

Full course and returns information on the Masterclasses website

Have questions about Writing fiction based on real life experiences? Contact Guardian Masterclasses

When & Where


The Guardian
Kings Place
90 York Way
N1 9GU London
United Kingdom

Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 10:00 AM - Sunday, July 6, 2014 at 5:00 PM (BST)


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Organizer

Guardian Masterclasses

Welcome to Guardian masterclasses – a unique programme of learning embedded within one of the world's most forward-thinking media organisations.

Masterclasses offer a broad range of short and long courses across a variety of disciplines from creative writing, journalism, photography and design, film and digital media, music and cultural appreciation.

Harnessing the expertise and specialisms within the organisation, our courses are led by first class and award winning guardian professionals whilst also drawing on the skills and expertise of other leading figures at the forefront of the creative and digital industries.

The programme is aimed at anyone interested in personal or professional development whether that be refining your skills, focusing your ambition or simply broadening your mind and gaining inspiration.

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