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.