Thursday, 17 April 2008

Thought for the Day

Following on from yesterday's post, I'm thinking about the rubbish that is written about Writing and Writers. In particular, I am struck by what a load of old bollocks it is to be told "Write What You Know". Why? I don't read what I know. The opposite, in fact. I read to experience the widest possible range of emotions and to learn, to broaden my horizons. Why, then, shouldn't I write for the same reason, with the same objective?

I think WWYK is right up there with Writers are Born not Made. Just another stick with which to beat us creative types into submission, keep us in our place. If WWYK was regarded, how many great books would never have been written? Well, Gormenghast, for a start. Lolita, we assume. Every Gothic novel ever, good or bad. Anyone else want to play?

7 comments:

Tania Hershman/The Short Review said...

I've always wondered where that Write What You Know rubbish originated. It makes absolutely no sense to me. How can what you know be fiction? How can you use your imagination if you only write what you already know? Ignore it. I do. I'd bore myself silly if I wrote only what I know :)

Sarah Hilary said...

Oh I don't know, Tania, in your case. Three months in Paris, so much travelling, living now in Jerusalem... I think if you WWYK, I'd read it. *g*

Anne Brooke said...

Never write what you know - that will come out automatically, because you ... um ... know it. The real trick is to write what you WANT to know!

:))

A
xxx

Sarah Hilary said...

I never thought of it quite like that, Anne, but you're absolutely right!

ireneintheworld said...

i think that rule is only a suggestion for fledgling writers to sound authentic. x

Sarah Hilary said...

Yes but then there's another rule that says Never Write an Autobiographical First Novel. You can't win. *g*

ireneintheworld said...

maybe you have to look at it in a kind of 'method' acting kind of way, in that you're only using the emotions and experiences to get that authenticity in the imagined world. x