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Writing About The Real World

Today's post touches on one of the reasons I enjoy writing: I get to learn stuff.

People should always engage in the world around them. I studied karate back in high school, and we visited the instructor's parents one day for some reason I can't recall. The father was a philatelist, and remarked how the world is made up of lots of different smaller worlds. I think he was talking about spheres of reality, or perhaps spheres of knowledge. I didn't pin him down on what he meant (I was an awkward teenager still trying to find my way in the world), but the concept remains with me, and it's relevant to Sacrifices / Into Dust Descend because of the theory of social constructionism.

Essentially, what one person knows isn't the entire sum of the world. What they know is only their part. Certainly, that part is their entire world, because they can't know what someone else thinks or experiences. They can empathize, but it's impossible for them to truly know. Even if they were telepathic, their own experiences would filter what they see and hear.

However, learning about other "worlds" does change the person. If they're fortunate, their reality deepens. Consider Shakespeare. He wrote in Hamlet that "there are more things in heaven and earth ... than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

My philosophy gets a boost this afternoon when I pay a visit to the county medical examiner's office for research. Regular folks don't visit the morgue; writers might if their story takes them there.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
bd_gallagher
Aug. 12th, 2010 07:30 pm (UTC)
for me, one of the best things about the research (other than, well, research) is how that research can otherwise affect the story. Not just for color, and not just in getting the details right (although obviously both of those things are important). But rather how what you learn in research can steer the story in directions you hadn't expected.

In my own WiP, I've ended up changing the type of military unit that I'm using. So I did some research on the new type and filed it away for future reference. Today, while thinking about the storyline, I realized that the behavior of the characters would be different in a situation because of the traditions of the type of unit they were in -- something that wouldn't have occurred to me before doing the research.
stevenagy
Aug. 12th, 2010 08:00 pm (UTC)
Yep. That's what I was thinking about, though for S/IDD that's part of the theme and part of the why-porn behind events.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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