Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Write What You Don’t Know (Part 1)
I didn’t want to write only to reflect the mundane. I wanted to write to escape the mundane! And this meant writing what I didn’t know.
I’d never had an adventure, I’d never investigated a crime, I’d never met a dragon, I’d never battled supernatural armies. I wanted to make the ordinary extraordinary.
It wasn’t until later I learned it wasn’t about the unknown worlds I created, it was about the characters. What engaged me most about the stories I read was the fascination for people and their struggles. We all have that fascination. People are interesting, even the dullest people. It’s because we are made up of so many layers and contradictions.
Writing is a journey of discovery. We want to know why a certain person acts a certain way. We want to follow them on their journey. The more we can relate to the characters, the more their journey becomes our own.
And so we write -- and we sometimes write what we don’t know.
Next post I will explore how we write what we do know even when we don’t realise it.
Are there other rules on writing you’ve struggled with? Do you often write what you don't know?
Pic: As a teenager I drew a lot of dragons. Here is one I did in coloured pencils.