I am not one of those writers who writes only what I know. I do not chalk up my research to life experience. I do not believe that method writing makes one story more genuine than another. Nor do I believe that every fiction author is secretly penning their own memoir. Though I often write to wrench the weight off of my chest, it is not my sole reason for doing it.
I write about what I am passionate about, but I don’t always have a manifesto in my back pocket. I have something to say, but I don’t always smuggle my closing arguments into a narrative. Sometimes my subtext is just a plot thread that’s been left there to dangle.
My imagination can take me far away from my obligations, but I don’t always write to escape.
Sometimes I write just to see what will happen. To tinker for the sake of tinkering. To experiment and see if the results surprise me. To feel like I’m outside of myself, just because it feels funky.
I believe that life experience can make a story feel authentic. It helps describe the lay of the land. It gives you a quote for specific scenarios. It puts ready made thoughts into your characters’ heads.
That said, I do not believe you have to live through something to write about. You may have to research it. You may have to interview others who have, but if you dwell on it enough to bring tears to your eyes, you can write about it. Just respect your readers enough to handle difficult subjects with care and nuance. Continue reading Fake It Until You Make It