Starting out from this point of view, my writing naturally leant itself to autobiographical or memoir genres. I did courses on Life Story Writing, which helped me a little with style and structure.
My first attempts to create a readable structure that fitted in with the needs of publishing houses were a dismal failure. Later on I completed a degree in Professional Writing and learnt about narrative and creative features, dialogue and voice. Through feedback sessions in student groups, my writing improved even more. Some of my teachers and tutors were well established writers, and gave me invaluable insights into the craft. However, I came to realise, one day, just as I was about to send in my memoir to an agent, that I might not want my family and self exposed in this way.
So I set about turning the memoir into fiction. There were already some fictional elements, but I wanted to fictionalise the work even more. And to add credible dialogue, which is difficult within a memoir.
The problem with turning the memoir into fiction was that it became a hybrid structure, retaining parts of the memoir, and these did not always fit in with the events and actions of the plot. In fact, it was a novel in search of a good plot. According to the editor, the writing was good, but it lacked a consistent point of view and a solid plot line.
So this is where I was at then. I had to go back to the drawing board and recreate the whole, changing place and disguising the characters and omitting the more obvious “real bits” behind the story.
What I discovered was that, in writing a fictional work based on my background, the story was transformed into a very different narrative. In my case, it became a similar, yet polarised version of the real story. In psychological terms, this would be viewed, say by Carl Jung, as a sort of “sublimation” of the author’s narrative.