March 17, 2014

Debunking old saws about writing.

One of the oldest saws there is about writing is "Write what you know."

Horse hockey.

Since I wrote my first book at 14 and it was about WWII and since I was too young to have lived through that war, I know all about what it is like to write about something that you didn't have any exposure to.  Oh yes, as I was growing up in the 50s and 60s there were a lot of TV programs on about the war (ie. Victory at Sea) but first hand knowledge only came through my father who sat in the basement of the White House during the war flogging teletype operators into submission.   The guys in our town who were actually out there doing the fighting didn't talk about those things.  They were known as the Greatest Generation but also the Silent Generation and for good reason.

So here I am, writing about two women just post WWII.  I research.  I watch internet accounts of women who survived the things they survived, and I imagine how I would feel.  Imagination is the greatest asset of the writer. 

I'm not writing a non-fiction account of the war.  I don't need to know if someone actually said what my women are saying.  I research the events and then I set two entirely fictional characters in the events and let the action happen.

That's what writing fiction is about.

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