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Mining Your Life to Tell Stories

Have you ever been told you have a fascinating life? Do you like telling stories? Some of the best fiction actually comes from lived experience that an author molds into a compelling narrative that is often more interesting than what happened in real life. Author Nikki Barthelmess shares how she drew from her life to create her books and gives tips on how you can do the same to help you write stories.

Nikki Barthelmess

45 Minute Program



As a former foster kid, I've been told many times that I should write a book about my life. But that doesn't appeal to me. I've always loved fiction. I love stories of people living the kind of adventures I want to live. As a writer, I have learned that the times I was able to catch a reader's attention and, more importantly, make them care about my characters and story, was when I drew from my own lived experiences to inspire the stories I wrote. I've since sold novels about a former foster kid, like I was, as well as a biracial, white-passing Latina who grapples with identity issues, also something I have experience with as I am half Mexican-American and half white. Get your pen and paper ready, and I'll show you how you can mine your real life to inspire the stories you want to write.

Attendees will need:
- Three ideas of things in their past or current circumstances that they might want to explore in writing
- Notebook
- Pen or pencil

About the Author

Nikki Barthelmess is an award-winning author of young adult books, including The Quiet You Carry, Quiet No More (Flux), and Everything Within and in Between (HarperChildren’s, fall 2021).

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