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'Experience palettes' to paint from

Always base scenes, people, events on real life. But not by a one-to-one relationship. If you base a wedding on a real wedding you have been to then you can only write as many wedding scenes as actual weddings you have attended.

Also, if the match is too close then people you know will start spotting themselves in your work.

By drawing on your own experience, stereotypes, films you have seen etc. You build up a palette of experience to paint from. Basing events in real locations can also add to the depth and realistic integrity of your scenes. Primarily because you can actually visit the places and absorb the ambience. Secondly because people that know the places you set your scenes in will recognise the way you have encapsulated a familiar place.