Another week has come around and Tuesday’s discussion is upon us bloggers.
This weeks topic:
Write what you know.
At first, I thought it was referring to the genre. I know and love fantasy so I’ll write fantasy.
The more I have written, the more I have uncovered layers to this statement.
For me I have found, it isn’t the know of genre to write, it is the themes within the story. Whether it is fantasy, romance, thriller, mystery, fiction or non-fiction.
The themes of love, family, relationships and coming-of-age. These are the things I know, the things I have experienced.
I could amend the original statement, and suggest
Write what you have experienced.
For discussion, comment the themes you have experienced?
Is this how you interpret the original/ amended statement? Or was it something completely different?
If you think someone has an interesting point of view, invite them or share this post to them.
14 thoughts on “Discussion Tuesday”
I think “know” and “experience” are broad and subjective terms. I don’t think writers should limit themselves to only what they know from their own lives. You can know something sufficiently by watching others doing it, but studying about it. You can really “know” about magic yourself, since it isn’t real. But reading fantasy lets you know it by showing you examples and limits.
I agree, of course not. I didn’t mean to only write what we experience, it is more of a guideline and if we can incorporate these themes into our writing, it can make the narrator trustworthy.
Knowing a genre allows you to understand the boundaries; to stay within them or try break them.
Great contribution, thank you 😃
Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog and commented:
Here are some great thoughts from Douglas William Thurstan Smith on the ever popular ‘Write What You Know’ concept.
Thank you 😃
I take the original statement at face value. This does not mean I must write what I know so far in my life though. With research and new experiences, the field is still wide open. I just have to buckle down and learn.
Of course not. I feel it is more of a guideline that helps writers write but if not there is an extensive amount of information on any topic on the Internet.
The field is wide as the effort you are willing to buckle down and learn.
Thank you for your contribution 😃
To me, the original statement seemed to tell me to write what I’m comfortable with. That is to say, to write within my comfort zone. This might not necessarily mean and/or include the things I know of nor the things I’ve experienced. It only means to write on whatever striked my fancy and then went on to stay with me. So yes, it is about a genre but it has little to do with the amended statement. Writing can neither be limited to one’s personal knowledge nor can it be limited to one’s own experiences. After all, isn’t that why we read? To gain perspective on things unknown. See things in a different way. We gather knowledge from the experience of writers before us too. It’s true, write what you know, meaning thereby to write what you know to write.
I’m not suggesting it’s limited but suggesting some rules that we can either follow or break.
I love your opinion on reading, that is why I do it, to gain more perspective from others in the same genre.
Thank you for the well-thought out contribution.
I’m not one to put definitions into a box. But I will say- writing that comes from something you know backwards and forwards, something that is ingrained all the way to your marrow, will be the most passionate, moving, and relatable thing you ever make.
Exactly my thoughts with ‘write what you have experienced.’
If I have felt it, I hope to make other people believe and indulge into the fictional experience.
I’d have taken that statement as meaning things, places, experiences, people or even atmospheres that you have experienced. Writers often use the characters of people they’ve known for characters in their story. I could use my knowledge of an English hospital for a story because I worked in one for a while, or a story related to a farm because I lived on one. Writing what you know must surely make your story feel more real o the reader, unless maybe you have done a lot of research – and writers often do travel to places to ‘be there’ and to soak up the ambience and the atmosphere. Then there’s fantasy writing where you create what you want and the sky is the limit!
I’m glad someone is like-minded. Definitely, look at J. D Salinger – Catcher in the Rye, it is a reflection on his life but told through Holden Caulfield.
I feel because you have experienced it, you can add more layers to the narrative 😃
Sky is the limit for Fantasy writing but there are rules and restrictions but that is another post in itself!
Y’know, when I ran across this just now, I realized how little thought I’d ever given to the old saw. Then I did start to think about it and came to the same conclusions you did. What we know is what we’ve learned of the world, how we’ve felt about it, how we and those around us respond to the world. To write you have to be an observer of life.
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