Write what you know?

March 26, 2009 at 2:44 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

OK so I’m entering the Press53 short story writing contest, and when I sat down to begin I realized the tip from 9/10 writers is to “write what you know”. Now, correct me if i’m wrong (but not really), but wouldn’t writing what you knew make your work non-fiction? Since you’re writing something from experience. Also what about Star Trek, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Lord of the Rings, and so on. If Tolkien was mid-Hobbit and then realized “oh shit I don’t know any Orcs or Hobbits in real life, I probably shouldn’t be writing about them,” then he’d be less rich and we’d all have hours of life back. Isn’t the point of fiction to get a chance to explore the things you don’t know?
I just remembered where I was going with this, I sat down determined to write what I know. I ended up with a story set in the 1970’s, told from the perspective of a 6 year old boy… Wow I wasn’t even close.
I tried again and got 2 soldiers camped in the desert. I give up. I don’t want to write what I know. Press53 will be the judge!
PS. Socrates said the only thing you know for sure is that you know nothing! Therefore it isn’t even possible to write what you know. Not knowing is the first step towards knowing, you know??orc



  1. C-Reg said,

    Funny how this saying has become known as great advice yet they still call it fiction writing. Countermeaning?

  2. kate said,

    I think they mean you can use what you know to make stuff up….that’s how im gonna interpret it anyways. woop

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