Writing Fictional Replays of True-Life Events (Analogizing, In Other Words)

This type of writing is more common than you may think. Remember, life is much weirder and noteworthy than what you find in books or on TV. Writers model characters, plots, and quirks after things in real life: why not large-scale remakes, like an analogy?

What I’m talking about is a story with a double meaning. In some stories, the double meaning is obvious (Like The Chronicles of Narnia) and in other stories, the double meaning is less so, and in a select few there are some stories with a double meaning that is only known to the writer.

The best analogies and double meaning stories spring from personal life. The most rock-solid, concrete way of knowing something is to get out there and experience it for yourself. Therefore, the most rock-solid, concrete way of analogizing and writing fictional replays is to write on what you know.

If you’re a self-aware human being (I’m sorry–If you’re a robot, you can’t write this way) then you’ve had some good things happen to you, or else, some bad things. Sometimes the ups outnumber the downs, (but not in Nottingham) but all things can be used to tell a story. Heck, that’s what storytelling is: Your personal spin on one or more aspects of reality.

Now, if you’re thinking that I’m about to write about how to write memoirs and autobiographies, that is completely different from what I’m talking about. The point of analogizing is NOT just explaining the double meaning of the story. That’s preachy and annoying. And, to be honest, if your readers never discover the double meaning, that’s okay (unless you intended for them to know, in which case you should make it more obvious).

That said, there are two different kinds of fictional analogies: those which feed off obvious and well-known events, and those which utilize more personal ones. Both are easy to pull off, but I’d say analogizing about personal events is the easier of the two. I’ll address that one first.

For this kind of analogizing, you need to look into your personal life. Maybe a tragedy occurred, and so you want to model a character’s reaction after your own. Perhaps the sacking of this city secretly meant a collapse of your business. Maybe this failed romance in your book is a parody of your own (I certainly hope that’s not the case, but still). This kind of analogy just needs to be honest. Change the variables but keep the point as pure as possible. Remember, it doesn’t have to be obvious.

For the other kind, you’re going to have to pick something more obvious. C.S. Lewis choose to represent a religious analogy with Narnia, and if you want people to notice, the analogy should be clearer. Pick something real you want to represent in a fictional story, but don’t be snobby or preachy.

You’ve heard me warn you about writing political stories. Stay away from analogizing political things, as this sort of thing will almost 100% of the time turn out to be annoying. Stick to something safe, like how Clone Wars uses D-Day as inspiration for the episode Landing at Point Rain.

The key to replicating a larger event is to create matching copies of the main characters. People tend to recognize the personalities of different people in books rather than a description of the landscape (unless those details are very, very nuanced) With this one, you get a little more liberty, but still, try to stick to the main details of the true-to-life event.

Good luck, and happy writing!


Published by Van Ghalta

A cold, dark, mysterious character who purposefully wrote a story so that he could fit into it...A story where he himself WRITES stories, practices martial arts, blogs, plays airsoft, collects MTG trading cards, plays outdated video games, and writes weird, third-person bios for himself...

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