"Write what you know." -- Mark Twain
“The more you know, the more you know you don't know.” -- Aristotle
"I know nothing." -- Jon Snow
TWIP = This Week in Progress
I'm kind of nauseous just typing this write now, and I'm going to tell you why. I would love to admit it's because I'm hard at work on some gripping novel, but the truth is it's Finals Week. And finals are hard. I literally exclaimed, "Oh, I is smart!" while editing a paper maybe 40 minutes ago. I'm at that level already. Yesterday I spent over five hours creating a study sheet, and another hour today finishing it. I fixed up a 21-pg rough draft on the cultural uses of Central Park this morning that my professor viciously edited but now I come off sound pretty darn smart. Why am I bothering to write about this?
Because I know what I write.
Okay--pause. That sounds dumb. What I mean is, I'm really thankful for what I'm going through right now, because it happens in my books. And you know what phrase, "Write what you know"?
I heard that phrase when I was very young--I mean, like when I was twelve and I was first realizing I wanted to be a writer. Since then I've heard people who preach this and people who want to hop in a time machine in order to murder whomever first said it (Goodreads says Mark Twain. Watch your back, Mark). The point is, I took it to heart, then rejected it. If you only write what you know, you're going to have pretty limited options. Now, I take it as I make sure I know what I write. When I wanted to write about a faux Degas artwork that was hiding a real, unknown Monet, (Monet Evanesce, a novel hopefully coming out in 2017) I did tons of research that even included going to the National Gallery in London. That was unintentional, but I went so far as to buy a book solely on Monet and stumbled across a version of Le Gare Saint-Lazare, where I quickly went into cardiac arrest and died because I never thought I'd see the painting that plays a key role in my novel in the flesh (or, canvas).
And, speaking of, my main character, Apollo, gets under an indescribable amount of stress while he's planning the largest art forgery ever attempted--to the point where he nearly has a breakdown and buys coffee and alcohol in bulk. I almost suffered a breakdown (okay, maybe like two) this semester, and that was just because of college. It kind of threw things into perspective for me and I almost wonder if I should have him more on edge.
And so, at first I was really bummed this semester because I've had no time to write. Well--I had time to write forty pages' worth of information on gender studies and Central Park, but no fake stuff. That was really hard for me to deal with. BUT--aha!--I forgot one of my novels coming out, Shubiao's Girls, takes place at a college in Massachusetts. And the main character is a college junior, as I am now. And she gets incredibly stressed, as I am now. She also has a mouse spirit attached to her, stealing her life as she sleeps, but that's a different story. I have all this personal angst and fatigue now that I 110% understand where my MC, Cara, is coming from. Now whenever I get my edits, I can compare what I imagined with what I felt this semester, and that's kind of exciting.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I am going to stagger away from my laptop and return about 10ish books to my campus library. Wish me luck!
Official website of Rachael Kosinski, 23.
Pen for hire.