"Write what you know." But think about that for a minute.
If every writer only wrote what they knew, we wouldn't have science fiction or fantasy novels. Those are two of my favorite types of novels. Think of the genres and wonderful novels the "Write what you know," rule would have put an end to!
Then I heard another interpretation of that rule. It said you don't have to write what you know, you just need to write what you're familiar with. Meaning that if you read only fantasy novels, don't try to write a historical mystery. When I first heard that idea, I thought it sounded pretty good. In fact, I liked it so much I applied it to my first novel.
You wanna know how that worked out for me? Before I wrote my first novel, I made a list of things I loved in novels. It included the following:
- Wise Old Mentor
- Training Sequences
- Chosen One
- Magical Savior
Needless to say, that novel turned out more than a little on the wrong side of cliche. It has improved in the last few drafts, but it is still very much a beginner novel.
So obviously that advice didn't work out great either. I completely disregarded the "Write what you know," advice for a while before I finally had a revelation about it.
Writing is so much less about plot and characters than it is about feelings. If a book doesn't make you feel something, you won't remember a thing about it.
So don't write about that you know about, personally, and don't write about the troupes that are your favorite, write about what makes you feeling things. Write about feelings you know, feelings you have experience with.
That's all I've got for today. Happy writing!
What's some writing advice you've heard but don't necessarily agree with? Leave a comment and let me know!