A book, a true book, is a writer’s confessional

March 11, 2014 at 11:45 am

So wrote Nelson Algren in Entrapment and Other Writings, and I think it’s true.
Authors are encouraged to write what they know. When I began writing, I assumed this meant if you have worked in a bookshop then you should set your novel in one, as you can write about it with authority. I believe this is true also, but I think when we authors write about ‘what we know’, we write about more than just familiar locations.
Our beliefs, for instance, will make their way onto our pages whether we like it or not. How could they not? If we believe something is right and something is wrong, it is natural to write in a way that reflects that. Also, life experiences often end up in books. The pain we went through, the loss we felt, the isolation …
I’ve noticed myself writing about all these things. My lead characters, especially the females, reflect different facets of my character because I’m writing about what I know. I suppose I am, in a way, confessing in my writing. I’m confessing my faults and insecurities, and perhaps seeking a way to overcome them.

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