Between blog, websites, creative writing classes, workshops, and other writers, a tsunami of advice threatens to swamp a writer’s creative process. Even people with the best intentions can champion hoary old chestnuts that stifle creativity. Every now and then I come across a rule that cries out for revision.
Old Rule: Write what you know
Fiction is a made up world. The author creates a new reality and populates it with imaginary characters and places. If I wrote what I knew my stories would be about the fascinating world of curriculum and instructional standards. Nobody wants to read that mess. Asimov didn’t know what it was like to be a robot. Stephen King didn’t know what it was like to be a deranged clown. They used their imagination to draw on experience and flesh out characters and situations. A writer doesn’t need to have a personal experience to write. The fun part of fiction is making crap up. Grant yourself the freedom to play.
New rule: Write what you feel.