Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Write What You Know? Maybe it's not such a good idea for the fiction writer!

Write what you know? 

This is not only boring for the fiction writer but is contradictory to the basic core of creativity, which by definition brings into being that which has not been before. If you write from what you know, if you remain slavish to the facts of what happen, you are writing out of you conscious mind and will remain stuck in the straight jacket of you conscious perception of “reality.” 

That said, there is nothing wrong with using your life or any aspect of your experiences as a jumping off point, as a doorway into the unconscious.

The key is not to be slavish to the known. Rather we need to have our writer’s antenna sensing for the opportunity to slip through the doorway into the unknown.

Gertrude Stein put it this way: “You cannot go into the womb to form the child... What will be best in it (your writing) is what your really do not know now. If you knew it all it would not be creation but dictation.”

Philip Roth, known for his autobiographical writing, said, "By the time the imagination is finished with fact, believe me, it bears no resemblance to the fact." 

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