Tips & Tricks

Write What You Know

It was the best advice and the worse advice to have ever graced writers.

Readers get up in an uproar telling writers what they can and cannot write (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/31/books/amelie-wen-zhao-blood-heir-ya-author-pulls-debut-accusations-racism.html) and fellow writers tear down ideas and snippets with backhand comments and comparing it to “tropes and stereotypes.”

That’s not to say that the writers shouldn’t do some valid footwork.

Readers of romance love tropes of one nature or another, that’s the genre. https://allthekissing.com/2018/02/atk-romance-tropes/

Stereotypes aren’t bad, but they’ve become so heavily viewed as a negative trait that when labeled a stereotype, people ignore the positive of the types. It follows along the “one bad apple spoils the bunch.” One smidge of a negative trait ruins the other 99% of good traits. Stereotypes exist because it’s a quick way to judge things—good or bad. https://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/whos_a_stereotype

Genres are built around tropes, story arcs, and even stereotypes. Within genres, there are expectations for accuracy (historical and contemporary fiction), and in others, they come with a suspension of belief as long as the world crafted can support (sci-fi and fantasy).

But more than firsthand experience and adhering to expectations, the writer’s greatest weapon is empathy. Their ability to take an experience they have endured and the emotions it procured, and weave it into a different situation, giving life to a moment. It’s writing what someone knows and putting a different mask on it, just like Shakespeare said, “All the world is a stage.”

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This post was edited/proofed by ProWritingAid.

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