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Scott Lax Blog

Write About What You Know? Not Necessarily.

"Write about what you know" is a quote that most creative writing students have heard too often. They also hear, "Write about what you don't know about what you know." Or, "Write about what you know you don't know you know." I'm no mathematician, but I imagine there lots of variations on this theme.

My advice is to write about what you care about. If you don't know about it, research. Or imagine. Or just make it up. In my new novel I wrote about a village in Europe that doesn't exist, and in a geographical area I've never been to. I created it. That's what's so wonderful about fiction: you have no limits. It's the one place where no one can tell you where you can and can't go and what you can and can't do.

If you escape into your fiction and do so with craft -- you must learn some craft or you'll lose your reader -- you are in for a fantastic trip. It's a trip into the human psyche. You can go anywhere. Craft is your craft... do you see what I mean? Skill is your vehicle. Take care of your craft, your vehicle, and it will get you where you want to go. It takes works, and preparation, and persistence. It isn't easy. But if you really want to write well, it's worth the hard work.  Read More