When I started writing way back when I was 14, every story I ever wrote began as a memoir. For about the first three pages I wrote about me before the story took a turn towards the fantastical. Through those pages I learned a lot of who I was, what I wanted, and why I wrote. I learned I could never write a memoir.
What I did learn was that short stories and/or personal essays are a great way to learn about me.
A few tips:
Write your truth. If you’re writing fiction, add a twist to that truth. In my case, I tend to add darkness mixed with the light.
Write with strong emotion in mind. What do you love? Fear? Hate?
Write a list of these fears, loves, events that have changed who you are. Some might just connect and bring about a great spark of creativity.
Write to show an Aha! moment. Readers want to take that journey with you and reach an understanding as you do. If you don't intend to publish the piece, that aha! moment will help you stay sane.
Write about you and add the spark of who you are: quirky, funny, drama queen, nonsensical, clever. It’s okay to exaggerate.
Pull your reader in by making it clear what your short/essay is about. In the middle take the reader through that journey, show them don’t tell them. And finally, the aha! moment at the end. Making the journey worthwhile.
Have you learned anything about yourself through your stories? Care to share?