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Writing what you DON'T know

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#1 KatieCakes

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 09:43 AM

Okay, so I have a bit of a dilemma. Do you think it's possible to convincingly write about love if you have never been in love?

I've read a few bits of advice, some of it from well known authors, that say they don't want to read romance from people who have never been in love. I thought that was a bit unfair. I mean, obviously, it would be great if you could use your previous experiences for inspiration, but not everyone is lucky enough to be able to. It doesn’t mean that the person can’t write it from imagination. Isn’t that the same as saying I can’t write about fighting a magical dragon because I’ve never fought a magical dragon?

 

I've been writing a contemporary teen fiction story and romance is one of the key plots. I love the story idea but I'm worried that I can't write about romance if being in love is something I've never been lucky enough to experience. What do you think?


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#2 BonkersBookworm78

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 12:43 PM

Okay, so I have a bit of a dilemma. Do you think it's possible to convincingly write about love if you have never been in love?

I've read a few bits of advice, some of it from well known authors, that say they don't want to read romance from people who have never been in love. I thought that was a bit unfair. I mean, obviously, it would be great if you could use your previous experiences for inspiration, but not everyone is lucky enough to be able to. It doesn’t mean that the person can’t write it from imagination. Isn’t that the same as saying I can’t write about fighting a magical dragon because I’ve never fought a magical dragon?

 

I've been writing a contemporary teen fiction story and romance is one of the key plots. I love the story idea but I'm worried that I can't write about romance if being in love is something I've never been lucky enough to experience. What do you think?

I write about a lot I have never experienced and I have this dilemma a lot. Whilst reading your writing (​Glimpse), I would never have guessed you had never been in love, so in my opinion your good enough at writing and understand your characters well enough to fake it. My rule at the moment is to write anything as long as I have felt the emotion before, so even if you have never been in love, do you love your family, do you love your writing? If so then you've felt love and reading helps a lot. Honestly, I believe if your really good at writing (and you are) you can try and write about something you have never experienced, even if the result is not good (I doubt it) you can only get better. 


Edited by BonkersBookworm78, 06 December 2013 - 12:53 PM.

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#3 Meg_Rulz

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 11:07 AM

Well, I'm not exactly an expert in writing... But I think you can do it! :)


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#4 24moon100

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 03:19 PM

I think the whole "writing from experience" thing is totally absurd. There are probably thousands of books out there that are written by people who've never actually been in the situations they've written about. I mean, think it surely helps to have the experience under your belt, but it is not a necessity by any means. :)


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#5 Bushra_Siddiqui

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Posted 20 December 2013 - 12:47 AM

Okay, so I have a bit of a dilemma. Do you think it's possible to convincingly write about love if you have never been in love?
I've read a few bits of advice, some of it from well known authors, that say they don't want to read romance from people who have never been in love. I thought that was a bit unfair. I mean, obviously, it would be great if you could use your previous experiences for inspiration, but not everyone is lucky enough to be able to. It doesn’t mean that the person can’t write it from imagination. Isn’t that the same as saying I can’t write about fighting a magical dragon because I’ve never fought a magical dragon?
 
I've been writing a contemporary teen fiction story and romance is one of the key plots. I love the story idea but I'm worried that I can't write about romance if being in love is something I've never been lucky enough to experience. What do you think?


Hmm......I have never been in love, yet I do write a lot about love, so I think u can write about love even though you haven't been in love. Yes, past experiences do help u out, but it's not necessary for us to be in love so that we are able to write about love.
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#6 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 20 December 2013 - 11:59 PM

Just write whatever you want to write. Other peoples opinions and "rules for writing" are so insignificant. If writers all followed some "code of conduct," I don't see what the point of it all would be. It's cool that some famous author doesn't want to read romance written by someone who hasn't fallen in love. Really cool. I sure hope they don't like the mystery genre, since that centers around people solving crimes when the authors have never solved crimes. Or the science fiction genre! Time travel obviously is off limits for EVERYTHING. Can't write about that, since we haven't experienced it. Obviously you CANNOT BE SUCCESSFUL if you write about stuff you don't know. Because that "Doctor Who" show, which is all about time traveling, definitely hasn't been on the air for over fifty years. That is so unsuccessful. I hope those famous authors refuse to even THINK about it because the writers didn't write what they know

 

Pardon my sarcasm, but I hope that it makes it obvious that basically the "write what you know" rule is the biggest load of crap in the writing world. It's well-intentioned and everything--having experienced love is going to help you write a love story, obviously--but "experience" can only get you so far. We're all a bunch of failures if we're confined to writing what we know.

 

Break boundaries and do whatever the hell you want.


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#7 dbcWinter

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 04:25 PM

Of course you can write about things you have never experienced! I mean, just look at people who write murder mysteries - I kind of doubt THEY killed anyone solely to know how it feels like, right?

I tihnk in some way writing is a lot like acting - you pretend to know exactly what characters feel, say, do in certain situations. In the end it just comes down to how convincing you can be. And in order to be convincing I guess you just need to read and write a lot. And, if you are writing in first person, I'd say being able to get inside someone else's head is extremely important (if, of course, you are not writing about yourself) - to achieve this you have to spend time with people with different personalities.

Oh, and you have to THINK and IMAGINE a lot.

But personally experience? No way.


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#8 xoAstrid

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 09:12 PM

I think the key is to try to get into the head of someone who has experienced certain situations or felt certain emotions. I think the best way to do this is through observation, research, etc; I completely believe it is possible to write/think like a person you are not. That is the key to good acting, is it not? :)

 

Edit: I did not see the post above me, but right on! I completely agree with you. :)


Edited by xoAstrid, 06 June 2014 - 09:12 PM.

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