Monday, August 15, 2011
Write what you know - or maybe not...
I've always taken that old adage - Write what you know - as a piece of advice that applies mostly to emotions rather than to facts. And I think all of us are experts at feelings - it's what we know best. They're universal - sadness and joy and anger and fear and despair. It doesn't matter whether you're young or old, male or female, from Canada or China. Emotions are the same.
You can dress it up with whatever you want - a quiet story about a family in the country, a thriller that moves throughout Europe, a romance, a mystery, a horror story. But what makes a story true is emotion. At least that's how I write.
I can write about people completely different from me - as long as I get the feeling right. I can write about people thousands of years dead or thousands of years not-yet-born. I can write about anything, any time, any place, any situation - all I have to do is get the emotional truth of the story.
So I was delighted to read this article by Bret Anthony Johnston in The Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/08/don-rsquo-t-write-what-you-know/8576/
It's great to know I'm doing the right thing -