Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Writing what you Know

I once read somewhere that novice writers are sometimes viciously bashed about the head and neck with the advice to 'write what you know.'  In creating a novel, this could either be a blessing or a curse.  If you're hoping to let loose your creative fancy and write about universes and creatures unknown, then writing what you know might lead you down the path to a brick wall.  But it could also help make something not necessarily palatable to everyone, a bit more relative.

I take the advice to mean, harness your incredible flight of fancy with the knowledge of the things that are known.  If, for instance, I'm choosing to give my space creature several arms and legs, then I'll let her feel the glide of cool water on a hot summer days over how many ever digits she possesses with the same appreciation as if she only had as many as I do and was able to splash and wade just the same.

I'm trying to adapt to the advice in ways that  challenge me to make what I've written better, more sparkling and vibrant.  We'll see how this goes while I'm slicing and dicing, shining and polishing the words.


Marilyn Brant said...

I love this phrase: "...harness your incredible flight of fancy with the knowledge of the things that are known." I think you expressed beautifully the truth of Writing What We Know.
Thanks :).

Pamala Knight said...

Marilyn my sweet! Thanks as always for stopping by to let me know your thoughts on my ramblings. I appreciate the link about RWA national conference that you sent. I have already printed a few workshop handouts but can always use an insiders guide to navigation.

I think that I have to make one last shopping trip for a suitable pair of string khakis and then I can get the crucifix and holy water out against the mall for a while.

Can't wait to see you next week!

Steve said...

Hi, nice blog.

Hope you are enjoying Shadow of the Wind. What a great book.

Pleased to hear you are a tennis addict. You may enjoy my blog

Keep on blogging!

Pamala Knight said...

Thanks for stopping by Steve. I love your blog and have added you to my blogroll.

The story I've recently finished writing is set in your neck of the UK woods --your county anyway. I am enjoying The Shadow of the Wind very much. Carax is an interesting character.

birdwoman said...

but, what if you're like the philosopher that knows nothing? I guess you're up the creek without a paddle then, huh?

I think the advice I've heard that makes the most sense to me is "practice practice practice"

The writers whose work I like the most are incredibly prolific. Not all their work is Pt, but every once in a while they really hit their stride.

just my 2 centimes.


Pamala Knight said...

Sounds like great advice Betsy. Practice can only lead to form that those of us not born as prodigies can rely on time and time again. Thanks!