How to Write a Book That’s Based on a True Story

Wish to discover how to compose a book from start to finish? Have a look at How to Write a Book: The Complete Guide.

As an author, you unquestionably wish to capture those minutes in an alluring story that readers cant put down.

Transforming real occasions into the composed word almost always proves to be a frustratingly difficult chore. The procedure vexes authors for a number of factors, and has actually probably required you to stop a minimum of one task you d have loved to successfully end up and publish.

If youre anything like me, youve found the process to be a lot more difficult than it should. Shouldnt translating real occasions into a story be simple? You have whatever you need, it seems: characters, occasions, and the entire plot.

How do you write a book based on a true story? How do you take those fantastical occasions and turn them into an even better story?

I know this because I, too, have actually failed at telling what seems to be the “best” true story.

My Perfect “Based on a True Story” Story

I grew up in a small town, the kind of location where everyones business is in some way public understanding. And one day in winter we all got up and among our three filling station had gone from a friendly fueling hub to a black crater on the lunar surface area.

Does not this noise like a great foundation for a “based-on-a-true-story” story? It did to me. However in the sixteen years since, Ive struggled to understand what to do with all the craziness and absurdity of my little home town event.

When I was eighteen years of ages, someone exploded a local gasoline station.

In the beginning the town was in horrified shock. Yet within the day, I (in addition to almost everybody else) had determined who did it.

The gasoline station was physically linked to the regional grocery story, owned by the same business person. Sure enough, an unhappy staff member had actually rigged the station to blow. Nevertheless, it was just a diversion so he could carry an ATM– stolen from the grocery store– out to the woods where he d have the time to break it open and take the contents.

4 Steps to Write a Book Based on a True Story

In all stories based upon true occasions, youll need to make specific options about the characters, their motivations, and the events. And in stories that directly or tangentially involve you as a prospective character, then an initial, challenging choice has to be made.

Here are four steps on how to write a book thats based upon a true story:

1. Get rid of Yourself From the Story

The very first problem I had writing my filling station story came from this idea. I constantly filtered it through my own point of view, and I had nothing to do with the storys main events.

I had to remove myself from the story completely. It wasnt mine to tell.

I experienced the surge, and the follow-up, as a weak (but highly interested) observer. All throughout high school I operated at the grocery story and typically ran cash or receipts backward and forward from the nearby gasoline station. It was generally my 2nd house.

This is the first, and frequently most agonizing, action to take when converting true events into written type. And its typically painful due to the fact that in numerous scenarios you are more straight affected by the events than I was in the arson.

Nine times out of ten, you, the writer, are most likely not the finest individual to consist of in the story.

This is why I welcome you to step back, spend some time to procedure, and divest yourself mentally from the events. Its the only way to move on and write a book thats based upon a real story.

But in most scenarios, it is best to eliminate yourself from the story. Not just does this complimentary you from your own predisposition, it begins a process of adjustment that will lead you to see every character for what they– a piece in a storytelling puzzle. Youre not recreating history.

Heres the problem with all of this: In this version of the story, Im the hero.

Youre narrating.

In truth, a lot of other people– the arsonist, his spouse, the police officer who drove over the wire that tripped the explosion, the butchers cutting meat on the other side of the concrete wall when hundreds of gallons of fuel ignited– are the real characters of the story. I barely gather a reference in any fictionalization of the drama.

Then, the night of the surge, I had a shift at the store and saw the CCTV video footage that revealed the arsonist strolling through the building to steal the ATM. I right away acknowledged him (in spite of using a baseball cap over his eyes), as did everyone else.

Why? Because typically when real things happen around us, they dont occur to us or with us. And if they do, the whole experience ends up being filtered through a greatly prejudiced perspective: our own.

2. Cut Characters

Is the film “true?” Yes and no. However either method, its an amusing movie that catches the essence of who the Untouchables lacked being a servant to the line and letter of historic truth.

In our efforts to duplicate “truth,” we frequently seem like every character that was in fact there should be consisted of. This rarely leads to a great story.

To find out more about character advancement and the ones you need to keep in a story, inspect out this post..

In reality, there were at least nine “untouchables,” not four. What about those other five people? To inform the story well, the screenwriter rolled all of them together to form 4 character “types” that made for an amusing story.

Your adaptation needs to do the same. Determine who is absolutely necessary to the story you are telling, and make vibrant choices. Itll keep your composing concentrated and minimize the burden of “getting it ideal” history-wise, when you must be focusing on getting it best story-wise.

A strong example of this is the 1987 Brian De Palma movie The Untouchables. This criminal activity thriller reveals the task force that removed Al Capone, focusing on a group of 4 heroes, some of whom die in the line of responsibility.

Most real life occasions consist of lots of characters. Business use hundreds of people.

Figure out who is absolutely vital to the story you are informing and make bold options to cut everyone else.

However stories– excellent stories, at least– typically contain just a little handful characters. Its tough to do service to big numbers of characters (unless youre Stephen King or youre composing something 100,000 words or longer).

3. Overemphasize (or Invent) Motivations.

Why would a serial killer act a particular method? Why did a particular civil rights icon make his or her heroic choices?

Obviously, the genuine motivation was simple: It was the arsonists middle-finger to his employer, all while getting money he needed for god-knows-what.

That was my objective when I took a seat to lastly write the story of the blown-up filling station. I needed to know why.

You can tire yourself browsing and researching to learn the “reality.” In some cases you simply have to make the reality up.

So I included a second story: the arsonists spouse is leaving him for an old flame, and he suspects it. So not only is he blowing up the gas station to pay their debts, hes doing it to reveal her just how far hell go to win her attention and respect.

Theres often no chance to understand the true factor behind every stranger-than-fiction story you desire to inform.

And based upon the insane things we hear and see, our fabricated truth is frequently remarkably accurate.

While its certainly wrong and illegal, its bold and relateable. Weve all been desperate and dreamed of doing crazy bottled-up things. Composing stories is the healthy way of getting those out!

Is this inspiration relatable? A bit.

Is it strong, gripping, and page-turning? Not truly.

Simply make certain you change names, occasions, and anything else that might send out a lawsuit flying your method!

4. Edit a True Story Into a Great Story.

True Stories Arent Always Good Stories.

No one suffers for a choice.
Nobody discovers the inspiration for an option.

Regrettably, this all depends upon the specifics of the history youre rewording, and I cant help you there. Here are a couple of standards to assist you.

Nobody decides.

Essentially, an occasion or scene can be cut (or severely transformed) if:.

Readers really want an excellent story, not simply a real story.

You can also take the setting, if its especially excellent, and transplant it somewhere else. Put a gripping discussion in a gripping area. This is all a part of “creative license,” the sort of modifications that good writers are expected to make.

When events are condensed into much shorter timeframes, youll find them easier to structure.

When occasions are spread out over weeks, years, and months, the work of structuring your story will be much more strenuous. What is necessary? What can be cut? Can events be reorganized?

This might sound surprising, however readers do not desire truth when they checked out something thats “based on a true story.” They believe they do– however they do not, due to the fact that truth is sluggish, chaotic, and filled with ordinary and meaningless moments.

Your job is to study the “true story” and draw out the very best conflict, the riskiest options, and the most compelling goals/motivations to make it a great story.

If none of these three things occur, then the occasion can probably be cut (this, by the way, is good guidance for storytelling in basic!).

The final modification you must be ready to make is structural. Lesser than personal bias, characters, and motivations, this change is extremely specific to the way things went.

Sometimes youll get lucky, and the chain of occasions is ideal for a 3- or five-act structure. This was the case for me with the gas station. While I needed to create the lead up to and fallout from the explosion/robbery itself, the sequence required few modifications. Because it all occurred in the span of a day or 2, thats.

How about you? Have you ever experienced something that would make a great story? Let me know in the remarks below!

Then brainstorm one major change you d make in order to adjust it into a great story using the 4 steps above. Share your writing, and your modification, in the comments area!


For fifteen minutes, summarize an event that occurred in your life, or around your life, that is simply too insane to be true and would make a great story.

David Safford.

You are worthy of a great book. Thats why David Safford composes experience stories that you wont be able to put down. Read his most current story.
at his site. David is a Language Arts instructor, author, blogger, hiker,.
Legend of Zelda fanatic, puzzle-doer, husband, and dad of 2 remarkable kids.

How do you write a book based on a real story? Should not equating real occasions into a story be easy? To inform the story well, the film writer rolled all of them together to form four character “types” that made for an amusing story.

Writing stories is the healthy way of getting those out!

When occasions are spread out over months, years, and weeks, the work of structuring your story will be much more arduous.

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