There’s a very interesting post over at Nathan Bransford’s page about bad writing advice.
However, here’s something I pulled out of the comments:
“Write what you know.” [This is the bad advice.]
Heard that from a creative writing professor about my manuscript centered around a family of women (I’m a dude).
Oh yeah, thought I? Well where the heck does Harry Potter come from then? Since when is Rowling a wizard and a boy wizard at that???
I don’t like to criticize other people, but I frankly I think this person is miles and miles off base. And, worse, is a thousand percent sure that he’s right and can safely ignore the soundest piece of writing advice ever given.
I don’t know exactly what Rowling knows and doesn’t know, but we do know that she knows:
*How to be a nearly hopeless situation and use your own pluck, nerve and talen to get out of it. (Harry)
*What it’s like to be an extremely clever girl. (Hermione.)
*What it’s like to be poor. (Ron.)
* What it’s like to heaped with criticism by people who don’t understand what you’re trying to offer kids. (Hagrid.)
And I assume there are a million little things she knew which went into the book. What it’s like to go to a train station, to shop at weird back alley shops, to have a teacher who doesn’t like you.
And then there’s another thing that people know, they know what they wish for. The Qwikpick Adventure Society is a wish-fulfillment book, really, even though there’s no element of fantasy in it at all. Rowling, however, had the capacity to understand what millions of other people were wishing for, too.
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