I’m not much one for politics, sports, celebrities, news––my mind tends to retreat upon such topics. I’d rather occupy myself with a fictional world than brush up on what’s going on in the real world at the moment. I’d rather be writing a sci-fi novel or watching anime than finally looking up the names of the presidential candidates for the 2020 election or watching people put their lives at risk over a ball and call it sport where the commercials have more screen time than the game itself. I realize there are pros and cons to this, but the fact is, unless it’s history, I’m not a fan of reality.Read More »
A year ago I compiled all the ridiculous search terms that led to my blog. WordPress is a lil rascal and won’t show me all the search terms unless I pay, but I’ve been able to pick out some pretty weird ones from what WordPress does show me from the past year. I decided to do another one of these posts because 1) it’s been half a year since I’ve posted anything and 4 months since I’ve written due to academia, so this is my way of easing back into the swing of blogging/writing, 2) I’m feeling rather sarcastic and random at the moment, so if you were expecting some sincere answers to search terms, keep reading because you’re not getting any. Onward!Read More »
Ever since I decided to become a writer and publish a book, my stories have been all about breaking the fourth wall. No matter who the characters are, what the genre is, or what the story is about, the plot is centered on a main character who is seemingly trapped in reality. Leo from Netherworld is given the Knowledge that another world exists, and he does all he can to break free of the suffocating misfortunes of life on Earth and visit this planet. Finley from Fiction’s Lie (yes, I just recently changed his name) must travel to the world he created in his fantasy novel to save his characters and reason with his hero who has gone renegade.
Last fall, I went to an ICR conference (Institute for Creation Research) and got to hear an astrophysicist, Jason Lisle, talk about how science confirms biblical creation. It was absolutely enthralling. The overall topic isn’t related to this post, but he did mention the impossibility of extraterrestrial life forms towards the end.
I’m sure a lot of you have heard the quote “Write what you know.” I believe Mark Twain originally said it.
Well, I hate to go against a well known saying by a prestigious author, but I don’t think it’s a quote writers should live by, even though I believe it does make sense to some extent.
Well, I just wrote this whole blog post explaining why, so keep your hair on.
Let’s start with taking Twain’s little piece of advice seriously … and literally. Let’s say you, as a writer, decided to follow the tip, and started writing only what you knew. You came up with a pretty good story. Fantastic. Job well done. This means that this story is completely and wholly yours, it originated from your own thoughts and knowledge about the world. No one else influenced you besides what your mind already stored up. Great.
But this also means you didn’t do any research. You didn’t explore. You didn’t ask for help. And You most likely didn’t write a fantasy or science fiction novel.
Because writing a fantasy or science fiction novel or any kind of speculative fiction is basically writing what you don’t know. Writing in this genre means doing lots of research. It means using inspiration that you look for and find in books, movies, music, the news, other people, etc. You’re reading articles on diseases, basic econimcs, spaceship terminology and weapon diagrams. You’re writing about things that could never happen in real life like space, time travel, wizards, magic, whatever you usually find in a fantasy or sci-fi novel, and all of this goes completely against what you knew before. You’re learning things about reality as you incorporate them into your novel, but you’re also making up stuff. You’re delving into the world of the unknown to create different worlds, different creatures, different types of magic and powers. Did you know any of this? No. You’re writing what you don’t know. And it’s fun.
So, am I telling you to write speculative fiction? After all, the title of the post says “Don’t write what you know.”
Well, that isn’t the point. No matter what genre you’re working on, there’s plenty of room to write things you don’t know. And you could have a lot of fun with that, even writing realistic stories about real-ife people in the mundane world we live in. You’re going to have to do some research to add to your knowledge, but you’re also going to explore. You’re going to be writing about people you don’t know, things you didn’t know, you’ll be writing a whole story you didn’t know beforehand, even.
The point is to explore. Write outside the box. Try new things. Come up with your own ideas that no one has ever come up with and don’t be afraid to. If you’re used to doing it the other way, try writing a bunch of nonsense. Things that you wouldn’t believe could actually happen, and you’ll be writing things you never knew about. If you’ve never written that way, I suggest you try it. It’s a lot of fun and you’ll even discover things about real life along the way. Dig in. Write what you don’t know, and you won’t want to go back.(Guaranteed.)
Mark Twain wrote outside the box. He explored. He wrote books about traveling back into time: Heck, he wrote about a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s court! So in the end, write what you know. But you’re also going to have to explore the unknown. Dive in. Just don’t keep your sanity in check because us writers. We just don’t do sane.
How do you write? Do you know everything you write? Or do you write of things you’ve never known about and take the time to explore while doing it? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic, even if you’re not a writer, and all your agreements or disagreements. In the meantime, thanks for reading. I owe you a spot of tea.
Today I will, once again, deviate from my usual genre of posts in the writing and geek categories. But perhaps this is a post for writers, because the only reason why I began to think about such things as our world, other worlds, and the Geocentric Theory is because I am, after all, a writer of speculative fiction. I also enjoy discussing controversy, as you may have noticed in my earlier history posts.
But here’s something interesting. If you write fantasy or sci-fi, you most likely write about different worlds besides Earth. These sorts of stories go into the “fiction” category because these things never happened
and never can happen. Wait, who says they can’t happen? Read More »