Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Where's Our Writing Knowledge Coming From?

In psychology this week, we’ve been talking a lot about how we learn: intuition, personal experience, reason, and the scientific method. In psychology, science is, of course, the most important (who would take medication that ‘felt right’ or try some pill a friend whipped up in their kitchen and recommended saying ‘it cured my cancer’), but in writing, it’s the opposite.

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Writing is where your personal experiences should shine through. It’s highly based on reason, or imagination, starting with the thought of “what would happen if…?” and following a logical train of thought from there. Adding characters, changing events, and throwing in a bit of foreshadowing in places that “feel right” all sound like good uses of intuition to me. In my opinion, science is more about the average, and writing is more about the exception.

But, because stories don’t go through the scientific process and don’t become part of any formula, does that make them any less true? Is it possible that stories can “be true” to some people and not to others? I’d be interested to hear what you think on the matter.

And, just as a side note, I have over 50 followers now! Yay! I feel like Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory where he was more excited that he had 100 followers on twitter than that his girlfriend got an article on the cover of an important magazine. Thank you guys so much for being a part of this blog!  


  1. Congrats on surpassing 50 followers! :) Ah, Sheldon. He is my favorite on that show. I do think a story can be true for some and not for others. It's all subjective.

  2. I agree with Christine. Some stories have touched me so profoundly that I had go out and buy a pack of cigarettes (and it takes something really profound to get me to smoke, let me telly you) and yet friends and family were ambivalent at best about the same book. I think what it comes down to is writing well so that even if someone can't relate to the story, they can empathize.

    And congratulations on 50+ followers! (^__^) *high fives*

  3. Thank you both! :)

    Christine-Sheldon is hilarious. They're all so great though, I have a hard time deciding on a favorite.

    Keru- I've had the same problem with books in my family too. Often, my dad and I will find one we both love, and my mom wont like it. Or, my mom will love a book, but neither of us will like it. Of course, writing is important, but the final vote often does come down to how much the reader can relate (or, as you said, easily empathize) and that's going to vary between individuals, even family members.