Write What You Know

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category:

The idea for this post was given by the lovely Mireyah. I have a terrible time coming up with topics, but she always has great stuff to say - so I got her to give me a topic!

We have all heard the saying that "To write well, write what you know." Do you agree? I do and here's why.

Write what you know doesn't necessarily mean things that you yourself have experienced, at least that's what I see. Knowing something and experiencing something are two different things. I KNOW that my father, a US Army soldier has nightmares and other mental and physical issues from war. He has told me some of the stories and his experience. I have not EXPERIENED these things myself. I watched them happen, or really watched my Father deal with them, after the fact as a third party. Does this mean that I can't write a convincing story from a soldiers point of view? Most would argue that I couldn't but I could probe my Father's brain for information and make a worthwhile attempt.

Tip #1: If you don't know then research it!

I can already hear folks arguing that you can't write about something effectively if you have not experienced it. You can't get the emotions right and things like that. You may be right but who's to say I can't imagine being a third party WATCHING and writing it from THAT point of view? Like my earlier analogy, I may not be able to write a truely effective story from a soldier's point of view as I am not a soldier. But I could write about what it's like to be the family of a soldier - the wife, the mother, the daughter - that could make for a great story too!

Tip #2: Try a different point of view to get stronger emotions!

Let's get even more crazy and say that I imagine that my Father died when I was a kid! (No, he didn't. He's still alive and kicking to this day.) BUT, how would I feel if he did? I may not have experienced the actual loss of a parent but I already know how I would feel if I had. I know myself well enough!

Tip #3: Imagine how you would react to a situation.

So yea, write what you know. And when you really think about it, you know a lot of things! So get to writing!

I close with a great quote "Fake it until you Make it!" Applys to this quite a bit I think!

3 Responses to "Write What You Know"

Dawn Embers Says :
March 31, 2010 at 3:49 PM

Yay! You found a topic to post. I don't always follow the write what you know rule. The best example of this is the mystery novel that I have started. I know nothing of the genre. Never read a mystery book, have no idea about police procedure and even hate the police/csi/etc type tv shows. Yet, I have a trilogy following a detective. And for the first draft of this first book I'm not doing research. I'm just writing even though I don't know what I'm doing.

Write what you want to write. - That is my opinion.

Great post and it was a good topic that Mire suggested. You did a good post about it.

Ann Elle Altman Says :
March 31, 2010 at 7:32 PM

Yes, those are really great points. If you research then you are writing what you know.


~Nicole Ducleroir~ Says :
April 1, 2010 at 1:43 PM

Harley!! Yay! So cool to read your blog! It's gorgeous, btw. Looking forward to reading your blogfest snippets :))))

So glad to be following you, sista!

Post a Comment