We all know that memoirs are based on the writer’s life experiences, and other narrative non-fiction is written because the author has an interest in the subject and usually has to do a great deal of research into what he or she is writing about.
But what about fiction?
Many people say they write about what they know, at least in their first novel.
I suspect a book like Room has a basis in real life events, although the point of view is totally fresh and the author’s talent is superb. But what about others like The Hunger Games or our own Jacqueline Carey’s world creation in the Kushiel series? What about Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow? Where do those ideas come from?
There was a superb piece in this last weekend’s Wall Street Journal entitled “The Life Well-Read” by Eric Ormsby which discusses where writers’ inspirations come from. Many rely on books they have read—especially as children.
The other very important point this piece makes, though, is that we all remember books by how they feel and look; will we remember them as well if all we have done is read them on an electronic monitor? What a good question.
I wonder what books you remember, what you think inspired their authors, and whether you think you would remember these reading experiences in the same way if you had read them on an electronic device rather than in hard copy?