Lynne Stringer – Author & Editor

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.

Facebook Comments

2 Responses

  1. Absolutely true Lynne. Sometimes I find it really hard to keep me out of what I’m writing. It’s the same when I’m editing for others. We writer/editors have to learn to do it but it’s not easy. My books, so far, are predominantly biographical in nature so I’ve had to learn to crawl around inside the brain of the person I’m writing about to understand what is going on with them, why they react the way they do in certain situations and how they go about problem solving, handling emotion etc. We have an interesting life, we writers, don’t we? Thanks Lynne. Great post.

  2. I think you are right Lynne – we can’t help but put ourselves and our experiences into our writing. Also writing about “what we know” – settings but also skills, hobbies, experiences, relationships – gives an authenticity to our writing. On the other hand if we only wrote about what we know. I think we can and should also right about what we can imagine. Of course, that might take some research. Actually, I couldn’t write what I write (fantasy) without a big dose of imagination – and I’m sure it’s the same with your books as well. I’m glad you didn’t just stick to a book shop setting 🙂