In order to be able to write truthfully a writer must employ every single thing he or she possesses: education, intellect, instincts, emotions, dreams, fears, beliefs, hopes, imagination, values, life experiences, etc.

If a writer isn’t drawing from this personal well, he or she isn’t writing truthfully, is merely faking it; no life is infused into their writing. Savvy readers can spot a phony miles away and reject whatever such a writer has to say.

Beginning writers are often urged to “write what you know”, but how is that possible if you write science fiction, fantasy, or a related genre? How can you write truthfully about something like standing on a distant planet if you’ve never actually done such a thing? What if it’s impossible for you to ever do what you are writing about? How can you be truthful?

I would offer that it isn’t the act itself that must be genuinely experienced, but the ability to sense what such an action would involve. You need to be able to truthfully express that awareness and those emotions and sensations. Like a good actor, a good writer must be able to place himself or herself in an imaginary scene—authentically! Not an easy task.

And that is one very good reason why we all aren’t award-winning actors—or writers.

All for now,

MRTighe

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