Sunday, May 11, 2014

Dumb Rule Day

            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.

1 comment:

  1. I love to give advice and I recall a post in my first year of blogging about writing what you know, but I pointed out that doesn't mean you have to be a cop to write a story about one. You could know enough about police work from watching popular television shows. That's how I've done it. ;) And it's neat to have to do research for a topic, place, etc. that you don't know in order to write a story about it. I'm doing that now. :)