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 little warning before you read on: This post will have spoilers after about halfway through, but for those of you who have not listened to the Bright Eyes Podcast yet, I have written up a little introduction just for you to get you interested. (After you’ve listened to the latest episode, you’re more than welcome to come back and flail over theories with me. Cheers!)
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 »
Most of this post is just my own thoughts. Read on and don’t be afraid to agree or disagree or note any flaws. I am, after all, just a young writer.
As mortal beings, do we have limited minds? Are we unable to understand everything, though we try? Perhaps we were created with a limited amount of knowledge, but we are never happy with it; we want to know more. Whether this might be true or not, we are instilled with a passion, a love to learn, to gain knowledge, to understand. Everything. But maybe we can go only so far. Life is full of mystery. We have much more to learn, but there is a limit. For example, does the universe have bounds or does it go on forever? There’s no way of knowing … yet. And maybe we’ll never know. There’s some people who hate not being able to understand everything. And then there are people who like the mystery and the questions so they can come up with their own theories.
“It is said that despite its many glaring (and occasionally fatal) inaccuracies, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy itself has outsold the Encyclopedia Galactica because it is slightly cheaper, and because it has the words “DON’T PANIC” in large, friendly letters on the cover.” -The Guide
I had no idea when I started reading this book that it would end up on my list of top favorite books. But it’s just the type of book I can’t pass over: Written by Douglas Adams, it’s hilariously funny, ultimately sci-fi, has priceless and witty philosophical satire, is just plain weird, and makes sense and doesn’t make sense all at the same time. Besides the mainstream hilarity that will make any reader laugh till he cries, Adams loves to put jokes in there that only he gets (which just confirms the awesomeness of the whole thing). Summed up: Read this book. You don’t only have to be a fan of sci-fi/space stuff, anyone can read this classic and just love it.
At least, I’m 99% sure.Read More »