The “Write What You Know” Myth

Oct 28

The “Write What You Know” Myth

 MYTH – noun \ˈmith\ : an idea or story that is believed by many people but that is not true : a story that was told in an ancient culture to explain a practice, belief, or natural occurrence : such stories as a group   The motto of “Write what you know” is probably the most misunderstood and misused sayings in all of writing. It is true that you will write a stronger piece with knowledge and confidence in a subject if you personally have experience in it. The myth though is that you have to have that knowledge prior to you writing about it. I’m not sure if the myth came about by it being misinterpreted by so many and passed on, or just an ignorance of those listening to it using it as an excuse to stay “safe.” If there’s anything I learned while getting my journalism degree, it was that ALL writing is only as good as the research put into the writing. It didn’t matter how strong the sources were or how eloquent the quotes were, the writer had to know the background behind the story in order to put it all together perfectly. When I wrote a piece on the school union vs. administration, I had never worked in either. I had to look up the history, as well as the personnel involved to get a deeper perspective of what the current issues were. I had to learn in order to inform my readers. It translates no differently with fiction. You do need to know about what you write. But you can very easily with time and effort, learn enough to be in the know. At that point, you will know what you write. With today’s technology, there isn’t any excuse in the world for people to shy away from story ideas that they think they don’t know enough about. You can learn the lifestyles of a pirate or ninja, even though it would be almost impossible for you to become one. Ok, not impossible, but I’m trying to keep my readers out of jail. Don’t ever fear the topic. Attack it with confidence, because research is the road to knowledge. Writing takes time, but...

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For You

Oct 23

For You

One look in your eyes And the world around me disappears My heart is in your hands But there’s an absence of fear   Fingers intertwined Day after day Just a whisper of your voice Carries me away   Two hearts Yearning to be one I’ll take rainy days with you Over a lifetime in the sun   Simply amazing The way you make me want to be A better man For the only woman for...

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What Do You Think of When You Hear “Horror?”

Oct 21

What Do You Think of When You Hear “Horror?”

When you think of horror, what is it you think of? Think hard, because what horror is and what people perceive as horror in this generation are often completely wrong. There is really only one word to remember when it comes to horror and that word is fear. Do you think of Jurassic Park as horror? If you watched the movie, you probably don’t. If you read the books, you should. Gore has become linked to horror and because of that trend in movies, that is what the current generation thinks of when it thinks of horror. Horror crosses genders and unlike in the past where Alien was a science fiction horror, it is now usually referred to only as science fiction. Jurassic Park was a science fiction horror as well, that because it didn’t show gore, fell into the science fiction category, stripped of the horror label. Whenever a story is designed or leads to causing fear in its readers, it’s a work of literary horror. Don’t fear it, embrace it. As a writer, you don’t have to feature a lot of gore or graphic scenes of violence. In fact, the less you show the more the reader is forced to imagine it. My main WIP is a murder/mystery that deals with a fetish serial killer. Some have asked me if I was going to show the sexual aspects, and I’ve always said I’d rather have the readers imagine them instead. And while that will probably have some scratching their heads, I just have to remind people what made Alien such a horror classic. You never saw the alien until the end. You were teased and it became a much more mental aspect to the fear as opposed to just being shown everything right away. The mind is the writer’s playground. It’s also where a reader gets hooked into a story. If you really want to scare them, make them think about whatever it is your story is portraying. Get into their heads, and you’ll get into their hearts. Although horror is in a stagnant place right now with it only being associated to gore, it’s up to us as writers to fix that. Don’t be afraid to...

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Phobia

Oct 18

Phobia

A phobia is a fear of something. It can be almost anything, and it’s a perfectly natural thing. Everyone develops a few for one reason or another. But I fear that the term is being used now as something that everyone should fear. A conversation stopper. Much like calling someone a racist, it now is being used to put someone on the defensive. It steers conversation away from any real issues and instead starts a backtracking of explanations about why they’re not and completely derails the discussion. When discussion is needed, it’s stripped away to the basic and left to rot in symbolism instead of dealing with the issues. We’ve needed many adult discussions about a lot of topic in the country, but when it’s dragged down to a simple name-calling exercise, we lose train of thought and the discussions and issues get lost in the turmoil. Want to discuss the real issues with Health Care? We can’t because you’re racist if you don’t agree 100% with an African-American President. Want to discuss the problems with Islam and how terrorism isn’t spoken against by even the large number of moderate followers of Islam? We can’t because you’re suffering from Islamaphobia. The same occurs with Homophobia or Xenophobia, relating to homosexuality and immigration respectively. The new definition of phobia today is being expressed as hatred, not fear. It’s falling into the racist category instead of something that can be explained for reasons in your past. A fear can be explained, a hatred can only be blamed. It’s being used to eliminate any worthwhile discussion. When discussion about any issue is fought against, it’s the discussion we most need to be having. We’re long past due on a real discussion on race. An adult conversation that doesn’t pass blame or seek retribution. How do people expect things to improve if we maintain the current feelings about any topic? And my phobia is that it will never happen. Not with race or any other political phobia that is invented to prevent a conversation. Have a conversation… There’s nothing to be afraid...

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My Thoughts of the Week

Oct 16

My Thoughts of the Week

Here’s a few things that popped into my head this week. It’s Ok to Disagree I think people have forgotten that it’s ok to disagree. We live in a pluralist society where freedom of speech, religion and expression almost guarantee that people will have different ideas. Ideas are a good thing. I don’t need need to agree with everything everyone says. Not even my friends. (wait, do I have friends?) I love to talk to people with different politics, beliefs and ideas about just about anything. Without that interaction, I’d be stuck in a bubble that never allowed my brain to process the possibilities of something that I didn’t think of myself. How boring would that be? The internet has fostered a society where you are you ridiculed or flamed for thinking differently or disagreeing with what the loudest voices say. Even if the loudest are in the minority, they claim that it’s common sense. When someone has to proclaim something  as common sense, they’re full of shit. Common sense isn’t very common anymore, because too often we think of the symptoms of a problem and not the cause. That’s why solutions are never longterm anymore. We just bandaid the issue and kick the can down the road. I will disagree with people on guns. I will disagree with people on politics. And that’s ok. I won’t throw a hissy fit if you don’t agree. But disagreement doesn’t need to be disrespectful. The adults can have a conversation. The children will continue to troll. Media Bias The viewers and readers know it exist. The Media stations themselves know it exist. But they’re the only ones that deny it. If you want to point to what is bringing down journalism, that’s the issue. When you can’t be honest with yourself openly, no one else will respect you. Journalism is supposed to be a watch on those in power. Tell the whole story, and let readers make up their minds. There are a few out there that still do this, but the majority push an agenda and look away when the party they support does something wrong. The story needs to be told, where it’s good or bad for the party...

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