My friend had (it's now disbanded) an extraordinary book club. Probably the only traits its members shared were an interest in books and the fact they were all moms. The most extraordinary thing, I thought, was the schism in the group between the beach-book crowd and the serious-literature lovers.
My friend belonged in the latter group and regaled me with many great stories about her frustrations with the book club....especially their monthly selections. She made several failed attempts to convert the selection to a classic. Although she probably didn't intend the stories to be funny, I found them hilarious. What's more, I saw a spot for the stories in my manuscript.
Since my book is coming out in August, I had a feeling I'd better 'fess up that I'd used some of the material in the book. Although I wasn't revealing anything personal about her life, there was no hiding the fact that the situation was taken completely from my friend's experiences.
Fortunately, she laughed and seemed pleased that I'd written about her club. But when she mentioned being excited she was in my book, I had to stop her. "Oh. Well, I twisted the whole thing. So, in the book, you're actually a 65 year old widower. With glasses. And he's nothing at all like you, except he wanted the book club to read The Brothers Karamazov."
That's the funny thing about writers. We can take our life's experiences (or other peoples') and weave them into our stories in different ways and with different outcomes until there's a mishmash of fiction and truth. I think it's what makes writing fun.
Mysterious Matters blog talks bout liars and their nonverbal cues.
Agent Rachelle Gardner with exercises for eschewing Writer's Block (and improving writing.)
The Write to Done blog tackles writing style.