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Monday, July 11, 2011

What Makes a Writer?


One of the first things I heard when I began my writing career was to “write what you know” If I did that I would have a short career. My life and what I have learned from it however does affect my writing in small ways. Ways I've only just begun to realize.


My first three books were set in Boston. This is were I was born and raised. I set it in the Boston that I knew, even though I haven't lived there in about twenty five years.. However times change and the city changes, but I called one of my brothers who helped verify such things as streets and buildings and their current locations. I am a visual person, I have to be able to see in my mind what I am writing.

That comes in handy when I travel, ten years ago we took a trip to Eastern Europe and took the overnight train from Prague to Warsaw. Nothing like riding a train straight out of an Agatha Christie mystery to spark your imagination. On a recent trip to Paris I was able to get some ideas for a follow up to my recent book THE MAN IN THE MIRROR. Now available on Kindle, the Nook and at Smashwords.com.

Back to writing what you know-I don't believe in it. I do believe that the things you experience in every day life, no matter how small, can spark an authors imagination in countless ways. What do you think?


8 comments:

Sarah Raplee said...

Elaine, good point!

I forget who said, "Write what you WANT to know." For many aspects of my stories, that's what I have do. I love to do research - thank goodness!

Diana Mcc. said...

With all your travels seems you have a lot of very interesting places and modes of travel that you know about. Eastern Europe, how exciting!

Judith Ashley said...

Elaine, Experiences add to our knowledge. I know what it feels like to stand in awe looking over the Grand Canyon in winter - snow coating the trees; sensing the ancient culture at Chaco Canyon or Stonehenge; wondering at the artistry at Roslyn Chapel or Canterbury Cathedral. Without our experiences, the feelings they evoke, our writing about what we know would lack substance.
I can only imagine what it would be like to ride on a train straight out of an Agatha Christie mystery - and my imagination tells me it would be inspiring.

ElaineCharton said...

It would be wonderful. When we were in Paris I received the ultimate compliment from my then 18 yr old niece. She is also a writer and we were walking around and I was telling her my story. We were in this huge room with statues of I believe where Roman gods and goddesses. I told her what I thought would happen in that room and she said, "Coolness"

ElaineCharton said...

Diana-
Eastern Europe was a lot of fun. My husband has a few adopted uncles living there and it was cool to finally meet them. It was like a mini history lesson. These people lived through Hitler, Stalin and now democracy,

ElaineCharton said...

Sarah-
I love to do research as well. In another life my husband was a reference librarian. He wouldn't do my research for me but he did show me how to do my own.

Tam Linsey said...

I like to think in terms of "write what you LOVE." That is where the "voice" comes into play, I think, when a writer finds their passion.

B. A. Binns said...

My own comment was "write what you know...and what you don't know learn." Travel has always been one of the best ways to do that learning.