Some of my compatriots at The Creative Alliance have been discussing their writing and how much they draw from real life. Sometimes, even questioning how much or if they even should, put personal, or real life characters or circumstances/events into their fiction writing. I think it is a good question, and I even have an opinion, but no real answer.
I think it is up to the writer as to how much they draw from real life, how much of themselves they put into their fiction writing. I think it is a personal decision of the writer, and a private one, if they so desire. How much and if they even tell folks, is up to that writer. I don't really even need to know. As a reader, I just want a good story.
From a personal standpoint, I am not sure it is possible for me to write without having real life experiences, even to some extent people, color my fiction. That is not to say that I write about the people I know, or events in my own life or friends and families lives. No, I am not recording what people do or putting someone I know directly into a story. I am however, influenced by all that stuff.
Even my sheeple stories about the family camping, while drawing heavily on personal and family experience, are fictional. There is some truth about the places and the events but it is not all factual. In all of those types of stories, there is that added fictional element and blurring of the line. That is about as close as I will ever get. Folks will know when I write those stories that it is part truth, part funny story.
In my fictional writing, as in short stories and the blasted novel, that is fiction. Sure, some of the characters have similar traits to people I know, and to me as well, but only a tad bit. The places, well they are purely fictional as well as events. Real life will color those things, maybe shade them, but only a wee bit. I have never been to Mars,or fought a dragon, but I have done both in short stories.
That is me. What others do, well that is up to them, and their choice if they want to share their source of inspiration. I think all writers draw on real life to some extent. Some choose to share the what and the how, some do not. I told you I did not have an answer, just my own opinion on what I do.