Thomas Hardy's desk - Copy
The desk where Thomas Hardy wrote

Writers are often urged to write about what they know. On the face of it, that must be good advice, particularly if you want to write non-fiction.

If you have an area of expertise, you are able to write articles and even text-books. If you need further facts there are plenty of ways to research and learn more about your chosen subject.

Even if you think you have insufficient knowledge of any one subject, think again. We all know something, for example about emotions. We’ve all experienced joy, grief, surprise, fear and any other emotion known to man. We can write about any of these, and many writers do in one form or another.

Moving away from the idea of writing about what you know, where would we be without imagination? There would be few novels if we only stuck to our own experiences. We don’t expect that every crime novelist should break the law simply to be able to write their books. A writer of science-fiction has, as far as we know, never met with an alien from another planet. Although their stories must be believable, they are figments of their vivid imaginations.

So, whether you want to write fiction or non-fiction, it’s entirely up to you and your knowledge and creative mind.

thomas hardy's heart lies 2
Grave of Thomas Hardy, where his heart lies

4 thoughts on “Fact or Fiction – you Decide

  1. If I obeyed that ‘write what you know’ rule I think I’d have given up writing as soon as I started!
    The part of non-fiction writing I like best is doing the research, finding out things I don’t know and then finding ways to explain them to other people who might not know either.
    My fiction usually begins with something I’ve experienced, a real person I’ve met, a place I’ve been etc. but then I let my imagination take over.

    1. Yes, I tend to work that way too. I always enjoy the research for non-fiction, but sometimes find I spend too much time, getting sidetracked as well! Too many interesting things in the world, or even the universe.

  2. I usually write what I know, Chris. One of my “dreams” is to one day compile books with the material found on Petals. Now if that will truly happen, I honesty don’t know. Perhaps I just won’t even want to put in the work a book takes and decide instead to travel the world and take pictures. Who knows what the future holds? 🙂

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