November 30, 2013

Write What You Want

Every now and then the following advice in regards to writing floats up through the sewage. Beware, this is not for the faint of heart, so make sure you have someone dear standing by. Alright, here goes:

Write what you know.

I think that’s utter nonsense. I have to think that, otherwise the world’s a lot darker than I thought. Think about it, if every thriller and horror writer out there wrote what they knew, then they’ve committed more crimes against humanity than your least favorite dictator. I can’t believe that, Stephen King has to be a nice guy, so the only conclusion I can draw is that these fellows didn’t write what they knew.

If we writer types just wrote what we knew, fiction would be awfully boring. There’d be almost no crime or horror stories, nor any particularly interesting erotica for that matter. Let’s not even consider where fantasy and science fiction would fit in here.

“Write what you know” is bad advice, but there’s a grain of truth to it. Let’s twist it a bit, into “research what you write”, and we’ve got something useful.

Write whatever you want. Don’t be constrained by silly facts like you’ve never fine-dined in Venice, traveled in time, seen two-headed giants, or driven a golf club through the eye socket of somebody. Do research these things though. Where can you dine in Venice, what’s time travel really, how would a two-headed giant look and move, and what’s the terminal velocity of a golf club? Those are valid things to consider.

Thoughts? Let @tdh know on Twitter, or find me elsewhere. There is also a newsletter.