f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Write What You...No!

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Friday, May 20, 2005

Write What You...No!

Getting away from trauma and pain…

What is the difference between “writing what you know” and merely inserting moments of your life into your fiction?

The problem seems to be that “what happens to you” is generally most interesting to only you. (Unless you’re a great memoirist.) So you perhaps overestimate the “impressiveness” of your own experiences and feelings. Or you don’t fit those experiences to fiction. The “lesson” you learned through a moment in your life—are you sure it fits 100% thematically with what your character is going through. These bits and fragments can simply feel just like that.

Finally, are we short-circuiting the somewhat inexplicable magic that occurs in the creative process by cutting out portions of our life and pasting them, whole cloth, into stories. The best scenes in my books surprised me.

I’m certainly not saying “don’t write from experience” but I think we should re-evaluate the issue a little.

Next week. I need to go home now.