Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Write What You Know

One thing the reader of my novels may not know is that I use my painful past experiences and embarrassing personal failures in all my writing. When I first made the decision to become an author, I began to hear the phrase, “write what you know”. Once I seriously reflected upon this instruction it seemed variations of this admonition began to present themselves to my awareness every where I turned. Slowly I learned that if one desires to write effectively, one can only write about things she or he knows. Also, to continue to write one must continue to learn … to experience.

I read somewhere recently that there is a significant difference between the following two statements: write what you know and know what you write. The first statement is actually much wiser than the second. If one knows about something from personal experience, she will be able to write in a way that communicates the real and sometimes raw emotions involved in that particular experience. However, if one attempts to first learn about something in order to be able to then write about it, the story would probably lack authenticity.

My first novel, All Rise, is a fictional account of a crime mystery. While the crime itself is purely a product of my imagination, the emotional experiences of the victim, as well as the perpetrator, are genuinely my own.

Probably we’ve all heard the old saying, “Failure is the best teacher.” I’ve come to fully and passionately embrace this premise. I’ve learned more from my failures than anything else. And, I’ve already experienced so many different types of failure that it’s very likely I’ve learned enough to teach a college course on the subject! All kidding aside, what I’ve learned from my many failures is truly the driving force behind my writing. I passionately desire to share what I’ve learned with my reader.

Currently, I’m approximately half-way through writing my second crime-mystery novel. As I go about weaving together the overall concept with the details of the storyline, I’ve come to discover that my second novel more clearly reveals the emotional pain involved with my past experiences than my first novel. When I read over what I’ve written I feel utterly exposed.

Sometimes I have to fight the overwhelming urge to hit the delete button on my keyboard and remove whole pages of my story. What stops me from doing just that is the conviction that the authenticity of what I’ve written may help someone who happens to read my book. My sincere hope is that my novels will not only entertain the reading public, but perhaps a particular reader will also come away with a better understanding of how to overcome a painful emotional experience in his or her own life.

1 comment:

  1. 2 Responses to “WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW”

    August 26th, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Mid-Life Cruising! says:
    Our failures, or I’d rather call them our life experiences, are what make us who we are today. As long as we learn and grow from them, they’re not a failure but a tool. You are so right, and I look forward to your next book.

    August 26th, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Admin says:
    Thanks for your thoughts. I couldn’t agree more!