Why Write Experience
August 7, 2013
You probably heard it countless times, well, I have.
“Write from experience, write from experience. Write what you know, write what you know.”
Take the little man who’s yelling at you and punch him in the face. Feel better? Good. But I’m telling you, the little man’s giving you some good advice. Yes, it’s good to write from experience but you can also write from experience without experiencing it. How does this work? You may ask. Simple, I’ll show you. What made Robert Ludlum’s Bourne Identity so brilliant? The writing. It has been said that the book played out like a film and my good Ludlum’s Bourne books became films! Amazing! Not really. If I’ve got my facts straight, Ludlum used to be work with plays or something around that so it would make sense that his books would be very long plays written in narrative. So I guess if you want to write books that read out like films, read Ludlum and such authors. Frankly, I think they have the right idea when it comes to fiction but that’s my bias. I believe books should play out like films. What made Harry Potter so good? What made any book that got turned into a film so good? THE WRITING! And the writing was solely composed by the writer who wrote the book (at least, I hope so. I never liked joined authors). As a writer though, you steal ideas. The Wrongdoer is completely due to the fact that I stole ideas from such authors as Don Aker, Robert Ludlum, and probably countless others. We writers steal and don’t give back, but so do other writers so we’re all guilty of the same crime. Imagine being arrested for stealing an idea. What a laugh. Oh wait, that happens. I wouldn’t exactly go branding to the world that you stole the idea from that book, and that book, and then that encyclopaedia. Chances are, none of the authors would care unless you really did steal their idea and I’m not here to discuss plagiarism but it is a pressing issue. Writers get sued for the stupidest things. I believe the Red Hot Chili Peppers got sued for having the same guitar riff as some other band. People, it’s a riff! Get over it. The Chilis are writers. WHAT?! I know, shocked aren’t you? Well, they write song lyrics don’t they? The answer to that question is “Yes,” by the way. As far as I’m concerned, we’re not writing lyrics telepathically, yet, so I would figure some pen had to hit some paper or some keys on a keyboard, which processed words on a screen, but maybe I’m being picky. I’m kind of veering off topic and don’t think I don’t know this.
Experience, it matters whether it’s your experience or someone else’s. The point is to not worry about where you take your experience from. Alright, be a bit worried but don’t kill yourself if you mention the CN Tower in your next book. It’s a public figure and even if it blows up in your story, chances are, you’re not going to get sued. And if you are, well, I warned you. That’s your warning. Another thing, everyone can get sued and you can’t exactly plan on it. You can make yourself spotless and still get sued, it’s the truth.
“Excuse me, sir, you mentioned the word ‘the’ in your new novel The Tale of the . . . I’m sorry, but that word has already been written in Ian Fleming’s novels.”
“Oh really? ” you say, sounding flabbergasted. “Well, you might just want to check thousands of books all written by different authors as they all mention that word as well.”
“My God, they should all be sued!”
“Even the dead ones? ”
“Especially the dead ones!”
“On the contrary sir, you have mentioned ‘the,’ as have I and I don’t believe Ian Fleming owns the rights to the word.”
This conversation is ridiculous but I hope you know what I’m getting at. If you worry about every little detail you’ll never finish a single f****** book. But if you want to write a novel that could be turned into a film some day, write realistically. All that means is write a novel that reads like it could have happened to you. Well, if the story’s about dragons, chances are you haven’t met one and if you have, please reply to this as soon as possible because I’d be thrilled to pet one. You should write realistically and base your stories on experience. For example, if you want to write a detective story and you have no idea how the legal system works, you may want to investigate into that. What makes a good novel? A SHITLOAD OF RESEARCH and that’s the truth. So, even if your book is about dragons and would be classified as “fantasy,” you should still write as if the characters are fleshed out fully. Those are the best stories and will get you published AND maybe one day your book will be up on the big screen. MAYBE, no guarantees. Please don’t sue me.