And so, following a motivation comment from a friend of mine in the last post, I have decided to write a post. Not a simple feat, but I have thought about what can I add to this blog that in some way connect the previous posts to a new topic.
So today I shall go with the good ol’ writer’s creed – “Write what you know”.
So, since my field of literary interest resides in the realm of Science Fiction and Fantasy you might think I might be in a pickle (never understood that term), as I never really encountered Dragons or been on distant planets fending off multi-limbs lizard monsters.
But that would be taking that creed a little too literal. As many would suggest, writing what you know refers to your own views of the human experience and how you can make others relate to that using your own experience as a thinking and feeling individual.
One example of this can be viewed in the way authors give social commentary on the world they live in using the lenses of science fiction. In many works you’d encounter the protagonist going through a series of events, which will usual give the reader pause and make them think of similarities to the world they live in. Events such as the prosecution of aliens because they are different, or the threat of misusing or ignoring scientific knowledge.
As I said, similarities.
Of course, some people will say things “You’re a man, how can you write female characters?” or “You’re white, how can you write the experience of people of other ethnic groups?”. While true that myself and others do not have the life experience nor perspective, I dare say that as human beings we can ask about their experience and listen to what they know. And within these different circumstances I work to relate with my own emotions. So, while I have not experienced harassment over gender or race, I can listen to the emotions brought by those who did and form empathy. Can I say that I have the full spectrum of emotions that they felt? No. But as an aspiring author I would do my best to do so. For if I cannot relate to other human beings, how can I hope that others relate to my characters and story?
In the end, my opinion on “Write what you know” is that the core of it is empathy and communication of feelings.
Does that mean that it’s only that? It is absolutely more than that. But best start with empathy, it would do you and the world good.