Write what you know. Never!

As per my Writing Escapades disclaimer, I am hereby explicitly notifying you that this post is not purely fictional, and is rather the product of my personal opinions and experiences. Not to worry though, as I intend to post more fiction and poetry than random rants, raves, or public service announcements on this site in 2014.

Glad that’s out of the way. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty damn proud that I was able to adhere to the rules I set forth over a week ago since I have a tendency to bend or break the rules – even my own.

Well there’s a bunch of crap for you, I’m in over a 100 words already and I have yet to broach the main subject.  My apologies, I’ll get on with it then.  “Write what you know,” has been said time and again – more times then I can count in various writing circles.  It is also a recommended starting point in many articles and self-help books.

I’m sure writing about what you know has merits and works for some.  However, if I followed this writing advice not only would my writing be extremely boring but I’d never get anything written because I would stretch my procrastination skills to the extreme. I would in turn find anything and everything else to do besides write about what I know.  In fact, I would resort to chewing off the dog’s overgrown nails or picking lint out of the carpet – by hand, before I would write about what I know. And you would thank me for this because the life of a Product Owner in the Payroll and Tax Industry doesn’t make for an interesting read. Demanding? Yes. Interesting? Nope.

If I wanted to write about the daily monotony of life I would have chosen nonfiction, but that’s not for me.  I write for an escape, and my settings and characters are the polar opposite from my life and me.  The only similarities that my characters share with me are they do wear capes, time travel, and have super powers and energy.

When writing a fictional piece I must step over that invisible line and in to another life and another world, but more importantly and above all else I must evoke emotions.  The more reactions I can squeeze out of you the better.  I want you to not only relate in some way with the piece you are reading but to really feel it.  For instance if it’s a horror or romance, you should be uneasy or excited.  As you read,  you will begin to take shallow breaths and hold it at times without even knowing it, while your heart rate accelerates – to a point that it pounding steadily on your chest like a drum that is amplified loudly in your ears. And maybe, just maybe, you might feel pleasant tingly sensations in all the right places or your palms will grow sweaty with fear or you will jump when someone enters the room.

It takes great deal of research to write about something that you don’t know, and for me that is the BEST part and why I love fiction so dearly it’s…very educational, yeah that’s it!  I mean who in their right mind can get away with researching medieval torture devices, bombs, prostitution, serial killers, drugs, human trafficking, and so on? I can turn to the World Wide Web (WWW) for all of the answers and pictures (there are some really sick graphics available) to aid me in my Writing Escapes to invoke a myriad of feelings.

Murder is a crime, so I’m currently researching accidental deaths at this time.  What incredibly useful and fantastic knowledge can be gained from the WWW!  I mean really, once you’ve done enough research and have a huge arsenal bag of disturbing goodies and tricks, people are generally smart enough to think twice about getting on your bad side.  On a serious note, I’m also researching truckers… I’ve got a road-trip-trophy-collector who’s peeking out and patiently waiting for his story to be told. Lastly, we would all benefit if I’d do some research around proper blogging etiquette, so I will get on that soon – I promise.  Right now I’m sort of winging this blog thing and making it up as I go, so please hang in there I will get with the program soon and once I know the rules I will decide to follow them or not!

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7 responses to “Write what you know. Never!

  1. Forgive me reviving old posts, but I could not help but delve into your mind a little further. 😉

    For me, “write what you know” does not mean “write what you do.” To me, it’s more about writing emotions that you are intimately familiar with, rather than experiences. I may never have magnetically strapped myself to a warp bike headed for the stars, but I have felt the thrill of climbing onto a motorcycle that was maybe a little too powerful for my skill level, and wishing I had some sort of force field to protect me. I may never have experience sliding a sword into the heart of a hated foe, but I’ve felt the anger and desperation and instinct of self preservation that would drive it.

    So when I write these scenes, I don’t write them trying to be technically perfect. I don’t describe all the quantum mechanics that would make a warp bike work (if they even feasibly could) because I don’t know them, and if I did research them, I fear it would be too clear what parts were “book learnin'” and what parts were from the heart. Instead, I write about the way the rider feels. The way he caresses the metal of the bike as if it were a lover, the way he thinks about the thrill of the danger it represents, or the freedom of the speed of the thing. These are things I know. These are things I can write about with honesty.

    That’s my take on things, at least. 🙂

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    • I’m honored that you took the time to take a tour and dredge up some of my past work that I forgot about, which makes me laugh now slightly embarrassed. This was one of the very first posts I wrote while being intoxicated. I like to believe that both my thinking and writing has evolved over the six months or so that I’ve been somewhat serious in my pursuit. I agree wholeheartedly with all of your points, and appreciate you sharing your wisdom and insights with me – thank you for that. As for maintaining authenticity, I tend to embellish personal experiences or perceive what something would be like when I write. Lastly, nothing compares to the feel of freedom as you glide through the air weightlessly on top of a bike wrapped in the comforts of the g-force, especially at night.

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  2. Pretty pretty please, do not research blogging etiquette. I am a lover of “blogvoice” and don’t know enough to control my voice and I think it’s great. I am a lover of the half fiction that blogvoice naturally generates and hope to hear more of yours before you take lessons and sing soprano.

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    • Hey manmadeoceans,
      I appreciate you stopping by and to leaving some encouragement for me! I haven’t put much effort in to researching blog etiquette, but what I’ve stumbled upon suggests there is some controversy. Since you asked nicely, I will continue on my merry way down the unknown path of my choice and hope to enjoy the sights and sound of my very own voice until I reach my destination.
      Thanks again,
      Kelly

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  3. Pingback: Write what you know. Never! | Kelly's Wandering Mind

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