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What's your take on that idea that a writer can only write about what they have experienced.

From: Raymond E. Feist
Date: 08 April 1999

I think it's valid, up to a point. Obviously, I've never seen a dragon, but the point is that people write about human emotions, situations, conflicts, etc. with which they are familiar. There's a similar thing that actors do, called "using sense memory," which alows the actor to remember emotions to plug into a scene he/she is doing. So maybe the actor has never lost a parent, and the character he/she is playing has, but the actor rembers getting torqued out of shape when Old Spot the family dog got run over by a drunk, so that's the emotional frame of reference that gets used. Similarly, writers use those insights into the human condition they have gained over the years. There's a phrase that sums it up pretty well, IMHO: old writers write what they've lived. Young writers write what they've read.

Best, R.E.F.


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