Thursday, July 16, 2009

Write What You Know...

... but maybe not the way you know it.

 "Write what you know" is an adage for both fiction and non-fiction writers, but there is another side to it. When you really know something, especially something that is based on precise, immediate action in very tense situations a lot of 'what you know' has to be forced down to a subconscious level.  It develops a psychological shorthand.  Things that are esoteric to outsiders are too obvious to be worth mentioning to insiders.
That's the thing- if you are writing for outsiders it is all about the things that aren't worth mentioning to insiders.  There are things that I have forgotten how I learned.  That's a problem with 'write what you know'.

The critiques are trickling in from the first readers, and they are doing exactly what I need. 

My first readers are pointing out the jargon, the places where I skipped steps in explanation (remember your algebra teacher in high school saying "show your work" and you only cared that the answer was right?).  A few places where there is some darkness behind what I have left out or masked with some grim humor that won't play... because the lessons are in the dark things that I don't want to say, the things that pro to pro would be considered seeking validation or attention.  Professional to outsider the dynamic is different and there's not a lot of experience here. Which is why there is a market for this book.

I'm actually starting to get very excited about the re-write.  But it will wait until I can synthesize all the critiques.

Thanks, readers. 

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