Thursday, January 6, 2011

Write What You Know. Oh shi-

When you take too many writing courses, or read what other writers say on writing, you come to know the phrase "write what you know."

That isn't strictly true. If it was, so many artists would not have stretched the boundaries of what we know and love of art.

Write what you think you know.

I read science-fiction and fantasy, and a little science, mystery, and everything else. I barely read any poetry. What do I write? Most poetry, general fiction, crime fiction, the occasional mystery and true science (mostly in the form of psychology and dream studies), and barely any science-fiction or fantasy.

I know what I love in science fiction, and it's all the things that make a story good to me; the same goes for fantasy. I can apply those to what I write, even if it's not science-fiction or fantasy that I'm writing.

I think I know enough about the real world to make it seem like some place that the reader can step into. The real world can be a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and through my poetry I practice touching them. My poetry is there to reach into the personal experiences of people and show them, not just that they're not alone, but also that people understand even if they haven't been there themselves.

Don't focus on what you know when looking for something to write. Focus on who you want to reach out to, on what you want to know. Write how you know and leave the rest up to that magical place between your heart and the paper.

Besides, if you find yourself writing about something you know nothing about, you can always do research.