How Fictionalized Do You Want Your Autobiographical Fiction to Be?

Posted on: 22 February 2021

Spiritual fiction is a growing genre that's actually been around for a long time. Not only are there plain fiction stories available, but spiritual autobiographies have been a mainstay for centuries. This subgenre sounds like a contradiction because an autobiography shouldn't be fictional. But fictional autobiographies exist in a few forms. If you're looking for some good spiritual reading and want to start looking at autobiographical fiction, think about how fictional and how autobiographical you want your stories to be.

Narrator as Author vs. Separate Character

A story is autobiographical if the story concentrates on the life of the narrator. The author tends to use first-person pronouns to describe their perspective. The narrator can also instead have their voice heard as the narrator of the story who is a different character. In other words, a woman writing autobiographical fiction could have her story's voice be in the first person with a male character as the supposed narrator. Sometimes a story will not have the main characters be extensions of the author, but instead, allow a minor character to suddenly appear and provide a connection to the author's thoughts about what's happening in the story.

Thinly-Veiled Memoirs

You also want to think about how close or how dramatized you want events to be. Do you want a fiction story that was influenced by the author's life and spiritual revelations, or do you want something that's essentially a real autobiography with the names changed to protect the author from lawsuits? The issue with that thinly veiled memoir is that you don't know what in there has been dramatized and what you should take as fact about the author's life. At the same time, if you want fiction, that mirroring of real life might not be of any concern.

Extras and Explanations

Sometimes these books have annotations and epilogues that explain what incidents were real and what was changed for the sake of the story. This is often the case in books that have become classics or that have been used in literature classes. These extras can be a lot of fun to read, and even when the events are depressing, the notes can be engrossing and point you toward other books to read regarding the author or the spiritual issues in the fiction book. However, annotated versions may cost more, so if the notes aren't important to you, you may want to look for plainer versions of the story.

Reading should be informational and fun, so don't rush your search for these stories. Check out the library, public domain ebook sites, and rating sites to find books that other readers have enjoyed. You can also reach out to authors like Dr. Audrey J. Levy to learn more about spiritual autobiographical fiction novels.