Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Write what you...no.
So before I get to my, probably not as clever as I think it is, title. I want to talk about the actual phrase. Write what you know. We hear it a lot and I often worry writers are taking that advice as a limitation instead of a moment to better ourselves. This could be fixed by a simple rewording. Know what you write. Don't let lack of knowledge pigeonhole you into secluding yourself to small areas of topics. Learn all you can, research new things daily. Become the writer you want to be.
Now, onto the other. Most of us in life say no, more than we say yes. There are a great deal of things that, being who we are, we will never try. I think as a writer these are amazing topics to write about. Finding things that make you uncomfortable or that you could never do with a clear conscious in your everyday life, can make for great writing.
Maybe it isn't your MC that is doing these things, but a side character or a villain. The point is not to add shock (necessarily) or be racy without value. The idea is, if there is a topic that is slightly uncomfortable for you, or evokes an emotion from you, it is likely to get some emotional reaction out of your reader.
Finding a topic to give your story weight can be done many ways. Just adding the most common of things, a love story, can do this. Still, as a writer, I always feel I have to push myself and that can mean making myself go to places I wouldn't normally.
Are there draw backs to this? Most definitely. When writing about certain topics one has to be careful not to misrepresent someone or something. I personally am not an atheist, if I were to write about one I wouldn't want to come off as criticizing them by making them seem less of a person just because they don't share my views. The same can go for anything that doesn't line up with my set of ideals and beliefs. From a murderer to a vegetarian. They are not me, but at their base they are people. In most respects they hold to the same base standards as I hold myself to, then at some point they branch out in different ways than I have.
It is following these branches that make for some interesting characters and moments in your story.
Okay, well I have gone on long enough. Remember only a few days left for the giveaway. Can't wait to announce the winners.
Anyway, hope this helps some people, most of it is just a jumble of thoughts floating around my head. As always, have fun and keep writing.
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
You made some valid points. I've found that writing crazy people is really fun, even though it's uncomfortable to think of them doing the things that they're doing. Being plunged into an arsonist's mind (http://intotheravenousmaw.blogspot.com/2013/04/a-is-for-arson.html) for a few minutes, for example, may make you cringe a bit, but it makes for great reading.ReplyDelete
I think for sure writing things that make us uncomfortable and really bring out new sides of our writing. Thanks for the comment.Delete
Sometimes it's good to push characteristics. I'll admit that I don't stray far from my core values though. That's just not who I am as a writer.ReplyDelete
Yeah, I don't think it has to be done every time sometimes writing what you know already are just as good. I just always am looking for ways to push myself.Delete
I actually enjoy writing characters that are completely different from me. Yet I know I can benefit from branching out more and pushing myself to what I no. Really great advice here, Brandon, and research you say? I'm all over that lol.ReplyDelete
Not a murderer nor a vegetarian? The jury is still out on that...well, you as writer anyway, I know the first one not to be true ;)
And no, YOU have fun and keep writing!
Yes o' queen of research I believe that one :P.Delete
Thank you, I agree I can do more as well.
Well I am not a murderer...at least I don't think, but then again I am also not a vegetarian..hmm, conundrums.
Interesting stuff here. Do more research. Say Yes to more experiences. Be open to how others think because it will help you develop characters who are different from you. All good stuff. I like it.ReplyDelete
Thank you, yes good themes for being a writer or a human.Delete
This post is very good, Youngster. I've had the same ideas (like do your research), but I never put the concept into words the way you have. If authors only wrote what they know, we'd be missing a lot of great books.ReplyDelete
Thanks. Yeah sometimes this comes out in a half decent way, so I post it here for all to see. :)Delete
That's very true about the write what you know. It is more of a know what you write as well as taking what you know and expanding upon it to fit a scene. Great post!ReplyDelete
OH yes, expansion of what you know is one of the most important things I think.Delete
I agree. It's good to write what you know, but you shouldn't be afraid to expand your horizons. It just takes some research to do it.ReplyDelete
I agree, fear of learning is never good. Thanks for stopping by.Delete
Some very good advice here. An author should never limit himself/herself, but research can be a great help in some cases.ReplyDelete
And I liked your title!Delete
I agree, we can be our own worst enemies. Also, thanks I liked it as well.Delete
I never try to limit myself in my friendships- and that line of thinking kind of spills over into my writing life. Great post Brandon!ReplyDelete
Thank you, I agree a lot of who we are in daily life and shape who are as a writer.Delete
That is a great rewording of the phrase, because yes, I think sometimes writers do forget that we can always learn more and expand our horizons!ReplyDelete
It is a hard lesson to overcome sometimes, but once we do the floodgates are open.Delete
"Know what you write. Don't let lack of knowledge pigeonhole you into secluding yourself to small areas of topics. Learn all you can, research new things daily. Become the writer you want to be." --I never thought of it that way. That's great.ReplyDelete
:). glad you liked it. Thanks for stopping by.Delete