Notes from An Alien

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Tag Archives: Writing Information

The Knowledge A Writer Needs . . .

knowledge for writers It’s often been said a writer should write what they know.

I, personally, don’t feel this means you can’t write about people or situations that you’ve never experienced directly.

If a writer had to stick to only things they’ve actually, directly experienced, humanity would have lost many of its finest stories

Some of you may have found what I’ve said so far to be extremely obvious; but, some folks haven’t questioned writing maxims and have spent years trying to do what they want to write about—swimming with sharks, eating poison then purgative, killing small animals, and worse.

Still, there is a way in which a writer needs to “know” what they’re writing about.

They can read of other’s shark swimming, talk to poison-eaters, watch documentaries, call scientists, consult with priests, interview a prostitute

I feel there are four broad areas of knowledge a writer needs to be constantly expanding if they want their stories to resonate with Truth:


Material reality and metaphysical reality (if you must, use “psychological” or “spiritual” for metaphysical)


Knowledge of what’s going on globally (politically, economically, etc.) is important even if your story happens in an isolated mountain valley—your readers will most likely be in the bustling world. And, if you story happens 12 light-years from Earth, your readers will still be stuck herejudging the aliens by Earth standards


This is the arena of human interactions on the personal level—how men and women communicate, how children get what they want, how old people suffer


Self-knowledge is probably the most important kind. Even without much know-how of the other three realms, many a fine, introspective and critically helpful story has been told

What are your thoughts on the knowledge a writer needs?

What experiences have you struggled through for your character’s sake?

Have you ever been in a writing vacuum and needed a knowledge upload?

How far from the “Truth” can a story be and still engage a reader?
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