Songwriting Part 1: Write What You Know, and continued with Songwriting Part 2: Write What You Like.
Today's post isn't mine, but a YouTube vid by Mike Lombardo. (buy his album)
Amen. A novel would be pretty damned boring if all of the characters were based on the author, wouldn't it?
Mike touches on a lot of the same points I'm making in Part 1. The only thing I'd add to what he's saying here is to simply stress that, when you do write about fictitious situations, make sure you write with sympathy. By that I mean find the hook -- find the commonality -- that lets you make that character believable. The trick in writing from somebody else's viewpoint is to find the universal themes that all people understand. So, just as we can write about a death row inmate in Like Norman, we can write about a frustrated gay groom in Marry Me without being a murderer or gay. If you don't sympathize, your song (or story, or book) won't be believable.
BTW, it's nice to know that Mike's songs are mostly non-autobiographical and fictitious. I wonder if this means that pianos really do get you chicks... :)
This is continued in Part 4: 5 Things You Need To Know About Music Theory