It helps if you have some life experience upon which to draw.
Last month, going through Star of Justice, I remembered some of the life experiences that went into that book. I’d had a pretty severe reaction following a blood donation that sent me to the emergency room. I survived with the experience of what it’s like to pass out and vomit for three hours straight. Leaves you with some pretty interesting muscle aches, let me tell ya.
I’ve already admitted Caissa’s story seems to be my story (sans dragons) like many “first” books. So Caissa got to pass out several times and wake up with some pretty interesting muscle aches. Did it add realism? I don’t know. Nobody’s mentioned it. But I know it’s there.
In the sequel, which I started before I finished my second book Elementals, Caissa deals with some fairly severe physical and mental issues. The kinds of issues so painful she tends to avoid them rather than face them. At first, she doesn’t see that’s what she is doing.
My recent problems with panic attacks will help with this story. Because the stimulus led to such a strong unpleasant response for me, I avoided the stimulus. Then I avoided things that reminded me of the stimulus. Then I avoided things that reminded me of things that reminded me of…
You get the idea.
I hope Caissa will also get the idea and do what I did – turn to God for help. She’s not going to be able to solve this problem on her own. Just like I couldn’t.
How about your characters? Any particular moments or scenes that came straight from your life? That you’re willing to share?
How about you readers? What are your thoughts and feelings about realism in your fictional books?