Word count: 240 Reading time: 1 minute
Write What You Know. A one-second Google search attributes that quote to Mark Twain. WWYK is such an absolute Writing Truth that if you haven’t heard it from a teacher or read it somewhere, you probably can’t call yourself a true writer.
A couple of weeks ago the LM* and I went to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Washington State. Photos don’t do it justice. Walking the acres of vibrant flowers is a sensual experience. The colours infuse the air with an energy that cannot be captured in a flat medium. I’ve seen it, felt it, smelled it, and touched it, so now I can entertain the reading public with a story about it, right? Maybe – if that story involves vampires, quirky S&M relationships or other forms of high fantasy.
WWYK would be a limiting truth if it meant writers should reduce themselves to simple, physical experiences. I interpret it to mean: write honestly, write from the heart. Physical details can be researched and discovered but an open soul is what makes writing resonate. If you’re writing about life in a parallel universe and you bring strong emotions to the page, it won’t really matter whether you’ve visited Planet Xenos or not; readers will be too captivated to notice.
Do you limit yourself to the things you’ve seen and done or do you leap into new worlds and go where they lead you?
* Leading Man
Photo: Alan Bolitho, LM