Write what you know? Are you so sure?

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JillStar
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Write what you know? Are you so sure?

Postby JillStar » Wed Jan 05, 2005 6:01 pm

I keep hearing people say "write what you know" and I must say, I do agree...

... however...

I find it more challenging and beneficial to write what I don't know. Sometimes I get a raised eyebrows from those who actually "do" know what I'm writing about... but I learn a lot that way and experience a great deal more growth and enjoyment out of writing that way. Not to mention the challenge involved. Actually... when I write things I don't know... I wing it at first to see how much I can figure out on my own, then I go into the researching.

Why would I want to stick to only writing what I know? Besides... if I do that, I won't be writing all that much. :-P
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Postby xcheck24 » Wed Jan 05, 2005 6:12 pm

i write about what i dont know all the time....it's part of being a reporter.

my favorite is writing about something that no one knows about, like angels. i'm writing a comedy about the angel of death and making stuff up just rocks!
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Postby JillStar » Wed Jan 05, 2005 6:26 pm

That's probably my favorite kind of writing... breaking the rules and enjoying every moment!
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Postby Mlou » Wed Jan 05, 2005 6:52 pm

Well, as for "write what you know", don't forget my character Henrietta Tuttle (short story contest) did that and was making a nice chunk of dough from it! :-D
nothing is ever simply Yes or No. There's always a But...


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Postby TheMudge » Thu Jan 06, 2005 8:41 am

You're just a rebel, Jill.

As a copywriter, I will attest that one of the most interesting parts of my job is learning about stuff I never thought about, then writing it down. Thing is . . . writing isn't all about the writer. Part of it is what we can uniquely share with the rest of the world. And the other is, well, you DO write what you know: even when you wing it, mannerisms, expressions, patterns of speech, situations and more are all based on what's in YOUR brain. Y's angels can do ANYthing . . . but they are specifically doing what X thinks they would do.

Stephen King has never seen a car come to life (we hope), nor seen a girl go telekinetically crazy at a high school prom. But he DOES know, HAS experienced, life in and around the coasts of Maine . . . one of the reasons his stories are so damn scary is that they take ONE supernatural element and put it into a situation that is VERY realistic . . . and he KNOWS it's realistic, because he LIVES there.

Research is a fine and wonderful thing, but it is much harder to write believably about something that you've never lived.
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Postby blank_parchment » Sun Jan 23, 2005 3:24 pm

I think write what you know is something that should only be stuck to on strick ground in school (or so my teachers keep telling me- write your imaginative crap on your own time, blah blah). The problem with going outside of what you know is that many people can't pull it off, so this is a nice general rule for the less prose-gifted. But you can learn a lot and come up with some great stuff even if none of it (or very little) is within your experience. It works for me at least!

- :? I think I lost my poin thalfway through that one... :cry:
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Postby JillStar » Sun Jan 23, 2005 3:41 pm

I think I understand what you're saying there blank... If we at least start out writing what we know, then we'll seem to know what we're writing. Or something like that.

I know that there have been times I write something that I don't know and sure enough I come across someone who's on to me. "What are you trying to say here Jill?"

But if I only write what I know... I'll end up giving up on writing because I get bored way to easily. Hell... its amazing I'm still on this site.

j/k Charles and Mudge :?
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Postby Mlou » Sun Jan 23, 2005 7:06 pm

Well, the thing is, it helps if you live to be 102. Then you've had lots of experiences that you "know"...if you can only remember what they were. :D
nothing is ever simply Yes or No. There's always a But...





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Postby JillStar » Sat Oct 07, 2006 12:25 pm

How about writing about something you have no clue about... I bet some of us would find out we actually know more than we thought we knew when we thought we didn't know what we actually knew. :shock:
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Postby cherbo86 » Sun Oct 08, 2006 9:21 am

I think there is a happy medium here. In what you are writing you choose something that you know a lot about- and mix it into the things you dont know a lot about- the sort of wing it as you go thing. Yeah like John Groisham I doubt ran into a mafia run lawyer group like he did in the firm or half the other things, but he does know about being a lawyer and the area and that lends all the credibility to get the job done.
And Im sure you are right Jill. A lot of people know more about things than they think they do. I think that sometimes is the little thing that gnaws at all of us when we are trying to write though- should I be the one to tell this story- I dont know that much about XYZ, but I think you should keep going and fill in the blanks later.
Im writing a story that involves a lot about state troopers and the fbi and I know very little about either, but I am still continuing though. I can get the main oarts down and get all the help I need later. (I hope)
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Postby JillStar » Sun Oct 08, 2006 1:02 pm

That's a good idea Cherbo... write it and then fill in the blanks later. If I waited until I knew everything about a subject in my story, I would never write. Research is only SO fun... ick.

Sometime I do fear being challenged about my writing if I write about something that others know more about. I don't want to be embarrassed.
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Postby cherbo86 » Sun Oct 08, 2006 8:18 pm

Well- It may comfort you to know this: When I was reading a John Grisham novel, (There are several of his that involve medical issues) I always read where he had sought the help of experts in the medical field in which he was writing and they really helped him a lot.
In my novel I am working on it requires a lot of dialogue between officers and their codes etc that they use to call in certain crimes etc. I just write in (get the code for battery) and then write what I want them to say and then will get the code later (23-19 ) or whatever from an officer that I will bring in to help me out with the hard stuff! Also will have him check out the believability factor of how things happen as well. :-D
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.

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The road to hell is paved with adverbs.

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Postby CycoMerlin14 » Sun Oct 08, 2006 9:12 pm

Said statement should simply be changed to "Just write it."

Get it? Like Nike. "Just do it."

Ahahaha... :roll:
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Postby LilacWine » Mon Oct 09, 2006 11:33 am

"Write what you know" ...???... as pretty much a horror writer, I hope I never know what I write. YIKES! Dreaming it up in my sick little mind is one thing, living it is another.
"I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear." -- Joan Didion (1934 - )

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Postby Delaney » Tue Oct 10, 2006 9:47 am

You know what might be a good experiment? Placing yourself in a completely different setting or lifestyle for a limited amount of time, and create a story around what you've experienced and learned from it. Like being homeless, or living in a mental institution... I don't know, I think it'd be really interesting. I'd do it.
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Postby CycoMerlin14 » Tue Oct 10, 2006 5:46 pm

Pretty much what Thoreau did while living at Walden Pond...

By the way, that's a really good book, full of things that would be nice if we did but don't do because we're human, flawed, etc...

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