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  1. Hellbent
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    Hellbent Senior Member

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    Experience 2

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Hellbent, Oct 25, 2006.

    There's another type of experience I'd like to discuss, and that's living experience. I think it's weird when I hear about 23-year-old authors getting published because they haven't really lived through a lot. I mean have they witnessed somebody dying, been a fight or a car wreck, are they even married or have children, and reallly have they been through millions of different situations that real life throws at us?

    I want to know what you guys think about this because this is one of the reasons I'm holding off writing seriously. I mean I don't plan to be completely done with my novel before I turn 30. I want to experience life more so I can be a more wise writer.
     
  2. smebro
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    smebro New Member

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    I think you are being very subjective as to what ‘real life’ is and also what writers (Of fiction at least) aim to do. I doubt many authors have lived through each event in their books, or even through any close semblance of similar events(In more cases then it would be applicable anyways). How can one really know what you would feel finding out that aliens are real?(Or any other plot device) Its entirely subjective, a writer simply makes their best estimation based on the human experience they have had, observed and read about. I doubt you need to have a checklist of life experience to write a novel, or to write full stop.
    To assume those experiences would raise your
    Wise-ness level is miss-guided, seeing some-one die could just as well mess you up for life as it could make you a better writer.
    If your imagination is there, and you keep it fueled, you can make pretty good estimates as to how people of different natures will react to each unimaginable scenario.
    We write the world be know, and then alter it however we like, making the best possible guess as to the result. Like running a simulation with an outcome in mind.
    That’s how I see it anyway.
     
  3. IndianaJoan
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    IndianaJoan Contributing Member

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    I tend to agree with you "in principle" but reality is, I have met some very mature teenagers. Maturity is probably what you are referring to.

    You dont have to be a policeman to write a book with a policeman as a main character...why should it be any different in terms of emotional development? You CAN at ANY age write about anything you want and make it believable. The trick is, researching what you write about be it an emotion, a job, or an event.

    If you go about writing with the kind of attitude you have towards your own age and experience, you will hold yourself back from learning about how to make your writing better. Ive said it before and i'll say it again..SUBMIT, learn the ropes, learn what people want, even if you fall flat on your face and line your walls with rejection letters, each time you get one, you will learn something about how to write.
     
  4. M.Kirk
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    M.Kirk Member

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    You don't have to live through an experience to be able to make it believable. For example, I had a story where the main character was a detective. I tried to make it clear to the reader how he was feeling as he entered the crime scene:

    "Walking into a crime scene never gets old. David thought that if he would just give it time, that he would eventually get used to the idea of being around dead bodies, but he never did. He secretly hoped that his colleagues felt the same way about it as he did, that they were just hiding their disgust behind stern faces and coffee stained ties, like he had learned to do."

    I don't really know what detectives feels like when they walk into a crime scene. I don't know if they get used to it or not, but the probability is, neither does the majority of readers.

    Some things you would probably want to research, though.
     
  5. Hellbent
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    Hellbent Senior Member

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    Hmm, well for me what I don't know, matters (which means nothing for writers around the world, because they're published and I'm not)
    But here's why.

    Yeah, research helps and so does a real imagination, thank nerds for the internet. But you can tell when a writer has done something, because they'll have information about shit that you didn't konw or realize, or a lot of deatail about something specific, and I think that's cool. It definately adds something to the writing and if i read something like (Did you know you can use toothpaste to cover up bullet holes in walls), then that is my new favorite author.

    Like James Byron Huggins (probably a lot of you haven't heard of him) was a cop and a tracker before he became a writer. Ok, so then he wrote this fiction horror/action movie type of book called Hunter. The main character in Hunter is a guy who is the best tracker in the world. He ends up having to track an ancient ice-age man/monster down and there's a lot of cool information about tracking all different types of animals and people, and...all the knowledge of a tracker- knowledge you can't find on the internet.

    But that's a bit different than wha I'm talking about, he just happened to turn his job into something interesting, which a lot authors have done.

    Now for fantasy, that's different. You're never gonna' get the chance to slay a dragon, so all you have is imagination and origin. Heh
     
  6. xxkozxx
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    xxkozxx Active Member

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    Life is a matter of perception. Fiction is all about imagination. I like to watch children because they have a very vivid imagination based on the world they see around them. Somewhere along the line most people tend to loose that imagination and have a hard time "free-thinking".

    If you are a writer, as an adult, you would like to think that you have held on to some of that imagination and can harness that to make it fit what you are trying to portray. You don't have to live through something to understand it. Hence, empathy applies. I am quite sure that Stephen King has not lived through the events in any of his books. He is however a wealth of imagination.

    The perspective of the book is not the author's perspective. It's the character's perspective and by writing the book or story you are essentially living that moment through your characters as you write. So, to some degree you do live through that event as it unfold. At least you do if you are like me and get so into what you are writing that you become part of it.

    If you are that involved, I think instict takes over at that point and the emotions and such come out in the writing.
     
  7. Hellbent
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    Hellbent Senior Member

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    Imagination, emotion and Stephen King...well there you have it.
     
  8. Max Vantage
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    Max Vantage Banned

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    I have observed commonisms during my writing journey, and that is that most of what you, and indeed others, have come across are myths. The saying is, "write what you know". That is only true to a fault.
    The catch twenty two situation comes from being biased when you are writing about something that you know.

    Take for example a woman who has experienced a miscarriage. In a lot of cases she could very well write a really good story about miscarriage but on most occasions people tend to bias their writing because they have first-hand knowledge. It's pretty hard to fictionalise something that you have personally experienced because you'd want to keep it to the "truth". When that happnes fiction becomes autobiography which is always dull when it comes to fiction stories.

    The best tactic you can take if you're writing fiction is to do research from a detached point of view. That way "write what you know" won't turn into "write only what you know from the basis of your 'truth'".
     

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