Musings of a Twiftie

a teen writing for teens

Writing What You Don’t Know October 23, 2010

Filed under: discussions — maenadwrites @ 11:11 pm

First of all, sorry for the hiatus. But I’m back, and ready to ramble! So read, and tell me what you think about writing what we don’t know!




Every writer on the planet has heard the saying.


“Write what you know.”


And sure, it’s great advice when you’re getting started, but you can only write your autobiography so many times before you start realizing that you don’t know much at all. And what you do know, it’s pretty boring.


Once you realize that, you’ll want to start writing stuff you don’t know anything about. And once you start, you just can’t stop. You’re hooked on the thrill, the adrenaline, of writing the unknown.


I don’t know about you guys, but one of my favorite parts of being a writer is writing what I don’t know.


Of course, there are so many things we don’t know about. It could be a place, a time period, an emotion, a POV, anything. Let’s try an example.


Maybe you threw a dart at a map to come up with your MC’s hometown, and now you’re stuck trying to write about the everyday woes in the little town of Stoneham, Colorado. Or maybe your MC lives on the planet Oxetywalonxx, which you and your cat came up with that night that you couldn’t fall asleep after drinking a gallon or two of coffee.



Either way, you don’t know anything about these places. You’ve never been to Stoneham, and certainly not to Oxetywalonxx. But now you’re going to write about it if it kills you. Metaphorically speaking; you’re probably not big on the whole dying thing.


There are two basic ways to go about writing what you don’t know. A, research, and B, imagination. Personally B is my favorite, but I can’t always use it. Each method only works in some cases.


See, research won’t work for Oxetywalonxx because it doesn’t exist, therefor it would be pretty much impossible to find information on it. But research would work for Stoneham, because there is probably plenty of information about it.


Sorry, research cat, Wikipedia is my research BFF


Research, ew. It sounds so much like work. But it’s hugely important to a writer. Say you’re writing about Italy in the year 1472. If you just make it all up, no one will ever know, right? After all, who cares if it’s accurate as long as the MC gets the bad guy or kisses the girl?


And to some degree, it’s fine to just use your imagination and make it all up as you go. If you say Marie Antoinette wore a pink dress at her coronation when she actually wore a blue one, that’s fine! Creative license and all that! But what if Marie Antoinette’s coronation wasn’t in 1472? What if she hadn’t even been born yet? What is she wasn’t from Italy at all? Yeah, that might be a wee bit of a problem.


I totally understand. Research reminds me too much of homework! But it’s a necessity. So don’t forget Method A for writing what you don’t know!


Imagination is such a huge part of us writers. If you can honestly tell me that, as a writer, you have no use for imagination, I will give you a million bucks. Monopoly bucks, of course.


But seriously, imagination is sometimes necessary when you can’t turn to research. If you’re writing about a character eating a live duck, you might not want to go out and eat a live duck to know exactly what it tastes like. It’s probably safer if you just go the imagination way.


Or say your character has just robbed a bank and is feeling victorious. Please don’t go robbing banks just so you can be sure that you’re writing her joy in the right way. Just get comfy and imagine it.


Because hey, who doesn’t love an excuse to grab an ice cream sandwich and daydream about what it’s like to kiss a cowboy in the middle of the desert, or win a million bucks in Vegas, or climb to the top of the Everest? Method B, gotta love it.


This concludes our tour through writing the unknown. Whether you’re writing about a 32-year-old psychopath who kills his victims by cutting out their kidneys with a soda straw, or a ten-year-old princess who lives in a castle made of marshmallows and bubble wrap, don’t forget to have fun writing what you don’t know!




Drop dead, gorgeous March 2, 2010

Filed under: discussions — maenadwrites @ 12:47 am

Funny how much difference a comma can make. For example, “drop dead gorgeous” and “drop dead, gorgeous” are two entirely different phrases. The first describes a lot of MCs and/or LIs. The second is what I’d like these characters to do.


I’m not beautiful. A lot of people aren’t. I know I’m not, and I’ve come to terms with the fact that we can’t all be supermodels. It drives me nuts when authors can’t seem to realize that. Sure, that doesn’t mean that the characters have to be disgustingly ugly, either. There is no such thing as ugly. But there is such a thing as average looking.


Maybe I’m just being whiny, but I just can’t stand it when the perfect MC has all the other characters drooling over him/her, or when the MC is always drooling over the flawless LI. PEOPLE AREN’T PERFECT. Some might be really good looking, and great at everything they try, but never perfect.


I guess the purpose of this post is not only to rant a bit, but to remind all of you writers that perfect characters just come off as really fake. Stop for a minute and think. Is your character flawed? Then s/he is real. Congratulations. If one of your characters is gorgeous, talented, and nothing but virtuous, then go back and try again.


a serving of music with a side of inspiring lyrics February 24, 2010

Filed under: discussions — maenadwrites @ 11:24 pm

“Why are we waiting on someone else to tell us how it should be, I’ve all ready found it, and God didn’t tell me to waste these dreams”

  • Let’s Go Back, Everyday Sunday


Has this ever happened to you: you’ve listened to a song a million times, but you’ve never exactly realized what certain lyrics really meant or how they affected you? Well, I had one of those moments the other day. I was listening to this song, when BAM it hit me. And so here I am to tell you guys how these lyrics inspired me to– Well, this is getting boring, let’s just get on with it.


Okay, so how many of us are waiting to be told how things should be, what we should do? Why should we be expecting someone else to tell us who we should be? We’re the only ones who can know what we want, what we can do and what we can’t. If I want to be a writer, I’m not going to pursue a career in medicine just because someone thinks I should be a doctor. If I want to be a doctor, I’m not going to write a novel if I’m not good at it. If you want to be a writer, if you want to write a best-selling book, stop listening to those who say that you can’t do it, that you’ll never make it. They have no idea what they’re talking about.


Whether you believe in God or not, it doesn’t really matter because it’s a song, so no whining about the name offending you or anything. The point is, if you have dreams go out and make them come true! We’ve all got dreams, we all want to do something with our lives. Something big, something meaningful. If you dream of being an amazing writer, don’t waste that dream! Pursue it, make it happen. And if all else fails, at least you know that you tried your very best, you gave it your all. Nobody can take that away from you, anymore than they can keep you from dreaming big.


Let me share another snip from that song (I love this song, is it too obvious?), “So tell me what you are and I’ll tell you you’re so much more than anything you thought that you could be”. Now for some more word dissecting (guaranteed to be less icky and much more sanitary than frog dissecting!) We each have a perspective of ourselves, and at times we think that maybe we aren’t that great after all, our dialogue sucks, the characters aren’t realistic, the MC has no personality… Give yourself a break! Ask anyone, and if they really know you they won’t hesitate to remind you how awesome you are. Trust me, you ARE awesome, don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t.


So I hope this was as inspirational to you as it was to me, and here’s a link to the song on youtube if you’re interested. Now get out there and write!!


~Mae (pretending to know what she’s talking about)


A twinkle in its author’s eye… January 14, 2010

Filed under: discussions — maenadwrites @ 2:16 am

Everyone gets their ideas in different ways. In my case, sometimes I find a title I like and make up a story to go with it. Other times, the entire plot might reveal itself in a flash of enlightenment (unfortunately I have yet to experience this). Or perhaps you had an idea for a character, so you created a story for him or her. Maybe none of the above.

why won’t paragraphs split properly?

For Piper’s World, I started with the concept of a boy who misses his dad and runs away, winding up at a ghost town. Now that original idea is lost under the layers of other stuff I’ve added, but it’s still the base.

now i’m forced to do this…

For Prison of Lies, I had a picture of this lower class boy who decides the best way to get what he wants is to seduce an upper class girl. Of course, he fails miserably at it, possibly humorously, too.

so that it’s not all run on and hard to read

That’s only how I came up with my current WIPs, I’ve got plenty of other stories to tell. You probably do, too. So, how did your current WIP(s) come to be?

did anyone find this?