Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What I Know

I've heard that the secret to writing is to write about what you know. That's always puzzled me. Do you have to be a murderer to write about murder? Has Stephen King experienced all the horrors that make his tales so riveting? It just didn't seem logical. Discouraging too. How much does one person know?

I'm pretty good at a couple of things, computer programming comes to mind. But I've been out of the field for five years now. Things change rapidly. Perhaps I could write a story about the olden days of computing. Maybe one novel, okay maybe a chapter in a novel, but it's not going to go much further. I have smaller skills too. I'm pretty good at baking bread, but I don't want to write a cookbook.

In the last week, I think I've come to understand the concept a bit better. NaNoWriMo gets the credit. I've got the general plot for my story, but each chapter could be described in two or three sentences. That won't land me anywhere near that 50,000 word target. So I've started to worry less about writing grammatically correct sentences and more about what my characters are seeing, thinking and feeling. I take a mental walk in their shoes and let the words flow onto paper ( er, screen). As I do, little pieces of myself find their way into the story. This character looks like my Uncle Fred. That one loves to play solitaire. I've experienced a good cup of coffee, bad hair days and moments of triumph. The list of things I know is endless. Now I only need to weave them into my stories.

19, 824 words and still writing.

Grandma

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