Hi, everyone, I’m Tad.
Josh is sick, so he can’t be here today, but he made a list of things he wanted to say and asked if I’d write the post instead.
Here’s what he says,
- Write what you know can be limiting in fiction.
- This creates an excuse to learn more.
- Imagining ourselves as other people/in other places can be just as valid as our own experience.
Okay, now that I’ve got that out of the way, we can move on to what I want to say.
The way I see it, it’s easy to find stuff to write about when you actually know some things.
But I’m just a kid, and I don’t know shit. So that option is out for me.
Write What You Know
What I do have is a lot of imagination, and I can read a lot. Which I do. Constantly.
In a lot of ways, the experiences I get from books are more real than the ones I get at home.
Stories show me the world. They teach me how to deal with bad guys. And how to fall in love. Some even make me rethink what I want to be when I grow up.
And a lot of them are about stuff that’s completely made up.
Star Wars happens in space, for crying out loud. Only, like, three people have ever been to space, and they only landed on the moon. So where the heck did George Lucas come up with all that stuff?
And Harry Potter? Don’t even get me started. First of all, Harry’s a boy. J.K. is a girl. How the heck do you write about being someone else?
Not to mention all the castles and magic and funny names.
My name is kind of funny, but I’ve never been to castle. So I wouldn’t know where to start with that.
Oh, and there are trolls. Not the kind you find on the internet, the kind you fight in castle bathrooms.
My point is, none of this stuff is real. But still people write about it.
I mean, I’m not even real, but I’m writing about making stuff up to write about. Wrap your head around that one.
Moving right along before your head starts to hurt.
(Seriously, it looks like you’ve got it tied in a knot there. Loosen up.)
If I decided I wanted to write something, even though I don’t know shit, I guess I could start by actually learning something.
I’m doing pretty well in school, but I sure don’t remember half of what I’ve learned. So I’m not starting off on the best foot.
I do love to read though, and books can teach you anything.
Or so my teachers love to keep on saying.
Point is, even though I don’t know shit, I could learn a lot of shit if I decided to read more. Then I’d have some shit to write about, because I’d actually finally know some shit.
I should probably stop saying shit now, shouldn’t I?
Even if I had a place to start — say I wanted to write a story about a kid in school who gets abducted by aliens and has to wait for his father, a firefighter, to come rescue him — writing just what I know about isn’t going to get the job done.
I could make up some of it, of course. Who knows if anyone’s actually been abducted by aliens, but I sure could imagine what it might be like.
But some of it is similar to real life. Maybe there’s never been a firefighter who had to save his kid from aliens, but there are firefighters, and they have to save people all the time. If I read some things about them, then I would know a thing or two about it and could put something similar in my story.
My point is, there are lots of ways you can find stuff to write about. And lots of ways to help make what you’re already writing even better.
It’s all about putting them all together.
NOTE: I don’t yet actually have any children. Though I am actually sick today, and thus found writing today’s post to be as if driving through a fog — barely seeing the next stretch of road, but still keeping the car pointed in the right direction.
The prompt for today’s writing was a lovely corollary to yesterday’s cliché of “Write What You Know,” and can be summed up as “Write what someone else knows.”
This was another challenge, as I didn’t quite know how to approach it at first. But as I’m feeling somewhat outside of myself already today, the idea of writing the post from the perspective of someone else struck me as both a cute way for me to shift the style without explanation (even though I’m still offering one) and as a direct way to illustrate the very point I’m trying to make.
Namely, sometimes you just have to make stuff up. And that’s okay.
Whether or not it worked is for you to decide, dear reader.
I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.