Of course, writing what you know can mean two things: writing based on pesonal experience, and writing what you know about, which presumably can include research (eg for historical fiction), and second-hand experience. Sci-fi and fantasy are different again; more imagination, perhaps, but still some experience (of feelings, emotions, behaviour etc).
I think I tend to write from personal experience. Because I've worked closely with people most of my life - nursing, couselling - I am fascinated by relationships, and I suppose they lie at the root of all my novels (that also explains why I'm hopeless at writing about crime. I've been there, and failed). But looking at my writing, I seem to have a preoccupation with death - there are funerals* in all my books - and this has happened almost unconsciously. Some years ago, my parents, in-laws and husband all died within ten years, and I'm sure now that all those deaths - all those funerals, all that grief, and all coming in such rapid succession - have infiltrated my writing, although I never set out to write about the experience, except in my first book (and I suppose first novels tend to be the most personal, because the first is the one that was been brewing for all those years when one was saying "I think I'll write a novel some day..."). For my next novel, maybe I should deliberately exclude all funerals, just to see if I can...
*Animal funerals, to, but I've blogged about those before!
Tuesday, 8 February 2011
"Write what you know"...?
Posted by Frances Garrood at 14:12
Labels: first novels, funerals, write what you know
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Even more challenging, can you write a book where a funeral happens, mid-course, but you never write about or refer to the funeral? lolReplyDelete
It's like playing with fire...ReplyDelete
D'you know, Nevets, I'm not sure I need anything too challenging at the moment. But thanks for the suggestion!ReplyDelete
From following your blog for the best part of a year I think your next novel will probably involve lots of young children and babies.ReplyDelete
Not sure about the babies and young children, Keith, Much as I love them, sometimes I need a change!ReplyDelete
Actually, come to think of it there is a rather lovely baby in one of my books, but I killed her off (cue for another funeral...).
I'm with you, Frances - I like writing about relationships. The new novel I'm working on, though, (while still relationship-based), has a crime in it - a new departure for me - so I hope it's going to work out OK. I only once based a novel around someone working in a hospital (my previous life) - but it's strange how my characters often seem to become doctors, nurses, medical secretaries etc without me seeming to have any control over it! The NHS must be more deeply engrained than I thought ...ReplyDelete
Hi, Olivia. Maybe a novel "with a crime in it" is better than a crime actual genre fiction, tho' I really wanted mine to work (my agent, having veoted the idea, added "you have enough characters in this for nine novels". Oops). I too find my nursing background creeping in. I think our pasts our impossible to get away from!ReplyDelete