Monday, October 18, 2010
Write What You Want to Know
This brings to mind the adage of "write what you know". I'd like to perhaps expand that to include "write what you want to know". This of course doesn't include journalistic type assignments where writers may be given assignments to write about topics that they may know nothing about and have to gather the required information in order to complete their articles.
What I am referring to here is the writer who works on their own incentive--the freelancer or the book author. Many of us will probably concur that in order to write about a topic you don't necessarily have to be an expert on the topic, but you want to know enough to write convincingly enough to make you sound like you know what you are talking about. This involves research about the subject matter. It also involves an aptitude in writing within your chosen genre.
Next month's NaNoWriMo challenge will require coming up with a topic and more than likely those of us writing will be writing about a subject that interests us in a genre in which we feel comfortable writing. I am pretty sure I will not be writing a romance. There may be romantic relationships in my story, but I probably wouldn't feel very adept at writing in the romance genre.
Whatever subject I do decide to write about will more than likely be something that I find very intriguing. I'm leaning strongly toward science fiction this go around, but it will probably not be anything highly technological or anything concerning other universes. I prefer staying here on Earth and I would rather deal with philosophical or spiritual ideas than complex scientific concepts.
The theory that I'm proposing is that most writers would prefer to write about either what they already know or about something they have a strong interest in learning more about. If a writer is going to immerse themself into a fantasy world where they will be living and creating over a period of time, they need to maintain an enthusiasm for this world and the characters that inhabit this imaginary place (or real place in some cases). Doing something you don't like can be a tremendous drain on energy and creativity.
Do you ever write about things in which you have little or no interest? Have you ever started researching a topic that you thought you would not like and found it interesting enough to change your mind, or visa versa? Are there any genres that you probably would avoid? Would you ever push yourself into writing in an uncomfortable genre?