Write What You Know

One of my co-workers said to me today that it was hard separating me from Abby in Twenty-Five.  She said reading the book was like reading my journal.  And she’s exactly right.  It took a long time for me to allow anyone I knew in real life to read the book because she hit the nail on the head – I poured my emotions into Abby’s story.  Her feelings are my feelings.  The things that happen to her haven’t happened to me, but the way she feels about them is.

You have probably heard the old caveat, “Write what you know.”  That’s what I did with Twenty-Five.  I wrote about the person I knew best in the world – myself.  It’s embarrassing and liberating at the same time.  The book was written five years ago and I’ve changed even more than Abby does in the course of the story, but it doesn’t change the fact that at one point in my life I was feeling very vulnerable, frightened that I would never amount to anything, a hundred percent sure no one would ever love me.  I’ve moved past some of those things, and some of them I’m still working on; knowing that I’ve exposed myself to the world, though, is freeing.  I don’t have to hide my fears.  I don’t have to hide my morals.  They are who I am.  And that’s what I wrote.

5 thoughts on “Write What You Know

  1. Go you! I think all of our characters have at least part of their DNA from us. Some teeny tiny part that reflects how we feel or act. All my female characters love chocolate. LOL!

  2. Funny, but I would assume that lots of writers do just what you described above yet I find it fairly rare in my two writers groups I attend(RWA and Tri City Critique group). I, on the other hand, find parts of me in every story. People ask how I could write as a 30 some year old woman in, Ralph: Guiding My Destiny and it’s because I wrote it as me…
    Great blog posts lately…YOU are really on a roll!!!!!

    1. Perhaps the writers in your critique groups are not as forthcoming about the parts of themselves they put in their books. It may not be in the characters. Maybe they use a setting that is home to them, or base the plot around a life experience.

      Thanks, Bob!

  3. Hey Bob,

    I can totally believe you can write a 30 year old woman. The best advice I’ve ever received as a writer is “Write the person, not the gender.: I think female/male, and or age, play a minor roll in the character.

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