Do you believe that writing from your real life makes a better story?
by Cale Dietrich
Hi! First of all, I have to say that I’m super happy to be here, writing this. This is actually the first blog post that I’ve written since The Love Interest was released, so it’s kinda cool to document this moment in time.
So, answer time. I think this is a really interesting question, because I think all writing is intensely personal, even if it isn’t drawn from direct life experiences. That said, The Love Interest is actually heavily influenced by my own life – I was going through the early stages of coming out as I was writing it, and I was working through my feelings by writing the book. It’s interesting, because it was also a really reflexive process. I was writing TLI to work out my feelings, while at the same time writing an unapologetic gay empowerment story was shaping my feelings. Honestly, working on TLI increased my confidence so, so much. So the two are incredibly linked, which is a super weird (and awesome, imo) thing.
I can’t say if that makes the story better, as that is 100% up to readers to decide. But from a writing standpoint, I think it made it way easier. For me, it’s not really about taking events that directly happened in my life and putting them in a book though. Very few of the events in The Love Interest have directly happened to me. Although side note: I think my Mum thinks they did and I just never told her, robots and all.
I think the thing that made it easier to write was that I’d experienced many of the emotions, and I sort of tried to write scenes where Caden feels how I felt when a similar thing had happened to me. So like, while I may have literally never gone on a drive late at night with a Bad boy rival, I TOTALLY know how realising you have a crush on a guy feels, especially when you’re not sure the guy you like is gay and you’re hoping he is but also worried he isn’t and etc etc.
So I think the thing that made it easier was recalling those feelings and then giving them to Caden, even though the literal events that happen in the book are different from what happened in my real life. When I mesh those two things, the end result tends to be the writing I am proudest of (and that readers seem to connect the most too).
Cale Dietrich is a YA devotee, lifelong gamer, and tragic pop punk enthusiast. He was born in Perth, grew up on the Gold Coast, and now lives in Brisbane, Australia. The Love Interest is his first novel.
The Love Interest
There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.
Caden is a Nice: the boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: the brooding, dark-souled guy who is dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose the Nice or the Bad?
Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be—whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.
What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.
A huge thank you to Cale for sharing his story, obstacles, and advice for us! Drawing from real life experiences and feelings can help your story to become amazing.
As always, a huge thank you to everyone who has participated in this feature. Your words and stories never fall upon unappreciative writers.
We hope you have a wonderful weekend.