1. Published on Amazon? If you have a book, e-book, or audiobook available on Amazon.com, we'll promote it on WritingForums.org for free. Simply add your book to our Member Publications section. Add your book here or read the full announcement.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Dismiss Notice
  1. BrianIff

    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    Messages:
    1,294
    Likes Received:
    433
    Location:
    Canada

    Truer Than True

    Discussion in 'Insights & Inspiration' started by BrianIff, May 29, 2015.

    Last night I googled "fiction" and read an article from The Atlantic written by a Harvard creative writing instructor. It concludes that we shouldn't use personal experience to pre-package how readers will respond to our work.

    I'd like to hear how you manage this tension between inspiration and the ambition to hit notes that Hemingway has described as "truer than true."
    All genre writers are welcome to post as I can see how horror -- or even erotica -- writers experience the same dilemma in the creative process.
    www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/08/dont-write-what-you-know/308576/
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2015
  2. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Messages:
    2,553
    Likes Received:
    2,452
    Location:
    Brighton Heights
    I read it, felt he was grappling to discover some essential truth - which he didn't really find. I tend to agree with the first few of the readers' comments.

    These CW tutorial guys are depressing, like 'personal trainers' with their drippy biceps, a v-neck professor. Well, his prose wasn't 'all that,' boring bugger :) Atlantic...grrr, gravitas, yawwn. How did he write so much?
     
  3. 123456789

    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    6,608
    Likes Received:
    3,271
    Yeah I didn't like the article. Bad article. Bad boy! Down!
     
  4. BrianIff

    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    Messages:
    1,294
    Likes Received:
    433
    Location:
    Canada
    Cool. I was hoping I didn't have to write 80k about the turbulent times of Tsarist Russia, the inner life and hardships of the peasant class, and how I grew through self exile.
     
  5. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Messages:
    2,553
    Likes Received:
    2,452
    Location:
    Brighton Heights
    Well, nobody cares about my time with the bomber crews down here in Italy. Back to the cockpit.
     
  6. BrianIff

    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    Messages:
    1,294
    Likes Received:
    433
    Location:
    Canada
    Write a piece about the migrant ship you're going to torpedo.
     
  7. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Messages:
    2,553
    Likes Received:
    2,452
    Location:
    Brighton Heights
    Yes I will, thank you, although I feel misinterstood, a little. I mean I misinterstood you, I suppose mister J R R Tolstoy.

    Here is the final draft:

    Below me, a thousand refugees struggled upon their raft. A gaggle, Barbary pirates who so plagued the very territorial integrity of the British Isles, and whose descendants threatened to steal the jobs of hard-working UK subjects. Compelled to launch the napalm capsule, its heat seared a memory across my visor. Bodies burned, boiled an insect barbecue topped in sugar. I inhaled...
     
  8. BrianIff

    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    Messages:
    1,294
    Likes Received:
    433
    Location:
    Canada
    I venture to speculate that you as well occasionally fancy penning a chav-geared, interlinear translation of Shakespeare for the noble purpose of edifying the post-literate demographic, or are such fantasies of education ministry procurement peculiar to this side of the pond?
     
  9. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Messages:
    2,553
    Likes Received:
    2,452
    Location:
    Brighton Heights
    Dear Brian, slow down, you are being too clever for me; I find myself playing 'catch-up.' Furthermore, I am unable to discern whether you are saying: 'Thanks buddy, I'd love a place in your pocket,' OR 'stick it up your ass, asshole.'

    Please help me, kindest regards, mother, who likes you.
     
  10. BrianIff

    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    Messages:
    1,294
    Likes Received:
    433
    Location:
    Canada
    The backhanded compliment is beyond the ethical capacity of this author, if he doesn't mind saying so himself. From time to time, he will corner British writers into eliciting prejudices against the New World (TM).
     
  11. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Messages:
    2,553
    Likes Received:
    2,452
    Location:
    Brighton Heights
    Okay, I'm ready. What shall I say...you...you big, fat American cowboy. What you gonna do, execute me? Catch me first. Don't shoot, that's cheating.

    I don't harbour any...I don't possess the skills to lampoon America, so much. Scotland, yes. Cornwall was once a favourite target. I'll work on it, say something evil to you, later on.
     
    123456789 likes this.
  12. daemon

    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2014
    Messages:
    1,361
    Likes Received:
    983
    So, "writing what you know" exists on a continuum. On one end, you give a thinly veiled retelling of events you have witnessed. On the other end, you take feelings you are familiar with and you bring them to life.
     
    matwoolf likes this.
  13. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Messages:
    2,553
    Likes Received:
    2,452
    Location:
    Brighton Heights
    Well put, said in 30 words and not 20 000
     
  14. 123456789

    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    6,608
    Likes Received:
    3,271
    This person is dumb. If you really "wrote what you knew," it would either be a non fiction or an auto biography.
     
  15. plothog

    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2013
    Messages:
    646
    Likes Received:
    523
    Location:
    England
    This article goes for the controversial title in order to get noticed, but then doesn't really say much.
    I'd boil it down to, 'still murder your darlings, even if they're based on real life.'
     
  16. BrianIff

    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    Messages:
    1,294
    Likes Received:
    433
    Location:
    Canada
    Whence cometh evil, hooligan dart thrower?
     
  17. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,705
    Likes Received:
    2,561
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    Here in the US, many have resolved the problem by knowing as little as possible, and then creating Facebook memes about everything else.
     
    BrianIff likes this.

Share This Page