Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Write . . . What You KNOW???

Over on Facebook, Jeff Ford posted:

I see a lot of advice on the internet from writers and others based around the question as to whether to "Write what you know" or not. Some people get really adamant about this stuff. LOL! The message should be "Write whatever the fuck you want."

To which Kit Reed amplified:

I add:  I don't know what I know until I start writing it.

Both of which are good and wise observations.  But that original bit of hectoring advice... Everbody knows of it.  But how many of us know who originally said it?

I do.  And I'll tell you tomorrow.  See if you can guess.



David Stone said...

I'm guessing that there are at least a couple of passages in Aristotle's Poetics that could be interpreted as "Write what you know." but I couldn't find them just now. For my money, however, the most entertaining object lesson I've read on this theme is Mark Twain's "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses". Probably because Cooper was already a famous (and deceased) author, so no one got hurt.

Daniel Hatch said...

Write what you know. And if you don't know it, research it, visit it, explore it, look at it from every angle, over and over and over again until you DO know it. No slackers allowed!

Matthew Johnson said...

Pretty sure it's somewhere in Deuteronomy.