Showing posts from April, 2020

(Don't, please, I beg you) Write What You Know

Perhaps the most often repeated advice to a new writer is "write what you know".  I'm sure that whoever originally came up with this meant well.  Maybe he meant,  Don't try to write about the life experience of an African-American street orphan if you are a white suburban housewife.   Or,  Don't set your book in the glamorous, high-stakes world of the Milan fashion industry if the closest you've ever gotten to couture is the sale rack at Target.  Possibly he just wanted to take some of the scariness away from sitting down in front of a blank page.  Write what you know.  It'll be fine. The main  problem with writing what you know is that what most people know is boring.  You know your job, your town, your family, your friends.  You know your experiences, which, on the whole, are probably pretty ordinary.  The purpose of fiction is to take the reader away from the ordinary, or to take the ordinary and to somehow make it seem extraordinary.  As long as you wr