Monday, May 28, 2012

Got What You Know? Or What You Don't?

Her hand and wrist had scars on them in four different places - two in lines like railroad tracks running from wrist to palm and two smaller ones on the slope of her index finger. She carried her Rodriquez board under her arm, the manga eyes on the bottom bloodshot.

Four boys stood in front of her the wind rifling their t-shirts making their thin bodies appear skeletal.

What happens next?

How much do you have to know about an activity to be able to write about it? I struggle with this as a writer as I'm working on a story now that I have no direct experience with - one about a soldier in a war that happened over ninety years in the past.

Don't get me wrong, I believe in the power of research and the ability of a writer to use research to nail the details of an activity or an event, but the ability to give these same things life is another story all together.

There's the old writer's maxim, write what you know, staring me in the face. I'm just staring back at it and wondering at the butterflies fluttering in my stomach. Can I do it? Insecurity is not my friend. I close my eyes and shut the voice of no-you-can't up and push it away. How else can you deal with that confidence crusher? Push it away and push forward on your story. Don't look up from your page. Don't look behind you to see if it's waiting there for another chance to lay you out because it is.

Some writer's tools are not computer-based, or book-based, or even touchable. Some of the most powerful tools are sitting inside our heads.

Tell us what happens to the girl with the board and maybe give us some insight into where she got her scars. Or take us somewhere and someplace else, whether you've been there or not. And do it all in another 100 words or less. Winners posted on the 8th.

- Joe


  1. I don't have time for the prompt today, but I will say that I think we all struggle with this question. Write what you know only goes so far. Even if writing a memoir, memory only does so much. After that, it's all emotion and imagination.

    Trust them.

  2. She got her scars from her past, she kept struggling to defeat her scars both the visible and invisible one. She has been defeated, beaten and won , so she will never give up till the end, aretha zhen,