Quick Link: Write What You Know? Well, Not Quite

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If you are writing non-fiction, write what you know is great. But even then you will get assignments that you will have to research.  Write what you know is great for new writers, to get them started but after that I have always questioned this particular idiom.  Writers and Authors poster, Jo Linsdell has some great thoughts on the subject for you to check out.

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Write What You Know? Well, Not Quite

Ever been to jail? Rome? A remote island off the coast of Argentina? Driven a tank? How are you going to take that experience and transform it into material for your novel?

One of the first things I had to learn as a writer is that simply retelling something as it “happened in real life” doesn’t cut it in fiction. I put that in quotes because I can recall writers in workshops responding to critiques by saying, “but that’s how it happened.” The trouble is, that’s great for journalism, or writing a memoir, but fiction has a larger requirement for voice, and voice has to be established from the start—long before the “true story” makes its entrance. And that voice is going to determine how that true story is told, and the events have to be true to the character that’s already been established. Why? Because in good fiction, character drives action, and the character I create may not have the same thoughts or react in the same way as the character in the event as it actually happened.

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