Friday, June 21, 2013

Write What You Know: Restraint or Release? (Pt 2)

Last time I talked about writing relationships you're not experienced with (using specifically the example of a sibling relationship) and how that can either restrain you or broaden your view.

Today, I'm going to talk about certain situations and circumstances, and whether or not it is even appropriate to write some things we're not familiar with. The example I'm going to use is death.

More than likely, you have experienced some sort of death, whether a grandparent or friend or even just an acquaintance. Death is a part of the world now, and in some ways we've become use to it. But what about that one death that shocks? The unexpected death that takes a life away too soon, leaving a family behind to fend for themselves.

We've all seen the movie about the wife who lost her husband and never thinks she'll find love again, and then meets another guy who makes her feel special. It's a fairly cliche, but granted heart-tugging storyline. But as someone who has never had such an experience...should I be writing that kind of story, or would I be offending someone who has actually gone through such a tragic loss?

I've thought about this for a long time because I came up with a storyline a few years ago about a wife who lost her husband in a war. However, I didn't even know anyone who had a husband in the war, and I, once again, had never lost someone so close. I was afraid I'd get the emotions wrong, make it superfluous and injure the feelings of others who have gone through this. So I stayed away from the story and continued to other things.

Let's take one of the words I used up there: Afraid. I was afraid...good excuse, or no? Let's think about it. What do you think?

The fact is, we're writers. We make up stories. If we stuck to writing about only the things we know or have experience with, I would be one person who wouldn't even be able to write a decent story. You have to be bold. You have to take the risks. Research: perhaps you know someone who has a spouse in the military, or someone who has lost a spouse to death. If you feel comfortable enough, and if the timing is right, perhaps they would be willing to talk to you about what it's like so you can truly convey the thought-process.

I'm not going to refrain from writing about love just because I've never actually been in love. The fact is, we are surrounded by love, and we can see and feel what it's like. We are also surrounded by death (sorry if I'm morbid, but it's true) and if we have a story that is tugging on our hearts, we should write it and not worry about what others think. Make sure you've got your facts straight, examine your inner emotions, and go for it. Release your creativity and be confident in your writing.

QUESTION: What's something you've been afraid of writing?

(**Click for Write What You Know: Restraint or Release [Pt 1]

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