Hello everyone… welcome to another post on writing! Yay! Even though I haven’t been writing loads lately, I’m still always down to have a long chat about writing lol. Today’s post is something I’ve been struggling with ever since I’ve tried to write an Islamic-fiction book (since I stopped my fantasy novel… around two years ago)… and I’d love to discuss it with you guys because I definitely feel like there are two sides to this.
Now, I’ve done a couple of creative writing courses and things… in one of them I was told “write what you don’t know! Be creative… explore!” but with the most recent one, which I enjoyed the most and I think really helped me to grow my writing skills was “write about what you know, to avoid cliches and stereotypes and be more original” and I 100% agree that the latter makes more sense.
However, there’s a problem with writing what you know… how do you avoid just writing about yourself and your life???
I’m scared to write what I don’t know because I want to be able to do something justice – and I don’t believe I’d be able to do that if it was something I’m not familiar with… like writing about a protagonist that is an adult maybe haha (this is so true though, whatever piece of writing I’ve done I’ve always based the age of the protagonist on the age I was upon writing it, because it’s what I could relate to the most and remember the most vividly). I also think this would decrease the quality of my story and I wouldn’t really know what I was talking about and be super cliche.
Whenever I’ve attempted to write an Islamic-fiction story in the past couple of years I’ve always just ended up writing about myself (subconsciously or unconsciously… it really is what I know best haha) – and it’s ended up feeling like an autobiography! And then people I know who read snippets of the writing also say they can see myself reflected in the main character (and not only is this frustrating to me because I don’t want to write about myself but also – it’s quite invasive LOL!).
I guess this is something I just need to keep working on, although I have tried to change certain aspects of my main character to make them different to me but it hasn’t ended up working out. For example – I have never been able to make my main character someone who is shy! Because I’m not a shy person – of course I’ve felt nervous, but I don’t understand real shyness that people struggle with because I’ve never experienced it.
However, I also don’t believe that all authors base their main characters on themselves lol. It’s definitely possible to be able to write about a main character that isn’t yourself. I think me writing Islamic-fiction – something that is already very close to home for me – makes it so much easier for me to slip down this route of just writing about myself and my own life and struggles (which is completely different to simply taking inspiration from yourself and your life experiences). I hope I’ll be able to achieve a balance… one day!
Anyways, what do you guys think about this? Have you struggled with something similar? What tips/advice do you have for me?? 🙂
Speak to you all soon!!!