While visiting my parents in the house I grew up in, I slipped away into my old bedroom to get some work done on my manuscript. I am currently working my way through Draft 2 and was almost at the end.
As I sat on the bed, my legs stretched out, my laptop teetering on my thighs, I picked up where I had left off in my manuscript the day prior. In the scene, my main character—a fifteen-year-old girl named Winona—had escaped into her bedroom.
As I worked on the scene, I suddenly looked up, took in my surroundings, and realized that I was not only sitting on the bed in my childhood bedroom, but I was sitting on Winona’s bed in her bedroom.
Not intentional, though obviously subconscious, Winona’s bedroom was an almost exact replica of my own when I was her age, minus the colourful posters that had covered my walls during my teenage years. The layout of the room, however, was exactly the same.
The realization was slightly unsettling, as it hadn’t been my intention to share my childhood bedroom with anyone, not even with a character in a book.
It has never been my intention to bring my own personal experiences into my fictional writing, though intention aside, of course my personal experiences influence my writing. Memories (experiences) and creativity come from the same place: my mind.
My novels are fiction, through and through, but little tidbits, small details, subtle quirks, have subconsciously found their way into my books. Realizing the personal connections after the fact always surprises me and makes me a little uncomfortable. I am an introvert, after all. But I am also a writer, and so I must strive for fearlessness—for it takes bravery to create honest characters and passionate stories.
I will not change Winona’s bedroom. After all, it’s just as much her bedroom now as it had been mine. I certainly wouldn’t have wanted anyone arbitrarily moving doors and windows around and rearranging furniture in my personal space.