Value in Tragedy

20 06 2011

I’ve read more then once that in order to be a better writer you need to be familiar with tragedy. You need to have felt some sort of loss to truly appreciate, and accurately write about whatever that loss might be in a fiction setting.

A few months ago I had the good fortune to chat with a published writer living locally to me. (and for the life of me I can’t remember his name right now.) We had discussed a creative writing class he was teaching to middle school students and he had made the comment, “they don’t really understand some of what they write. No way, they haven’t done any of it themselves.” Granted I tend to question the musings of ten year olds claiming to be “in love” but I’m not entirely convinced his statement is true.

Lets take a favorite author of mine into consideration for a moment. How many people do you think Stephen King has killed in his life time? Plenty of fictitious people for certain but as far as I know in reality, none. However, it doesn’t stop him from writing about it and in a convincing manner I’d say.

So just how much should we actually do ourselves, as writers, to ensure we write accurately. Research, absolutely. But I’m not rushing out to kill anybody.

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