I recently read another bloggers article about writing about stories that are not your own, and I found what he wrote to be exactly my experience.
I am writing a novel about two female characters from a completely different culture, region of the world, upbringing, religion and view of the world. Many may say I cannot do this, or do I have the right to do this? Can I really write from the point of view of such a foreign perspective to my own?
I answer exactly as this other writer wrote. I can only write that which I am compelled to write, it may not be what I know as is often trotted out as a fixed rule of writing, but rules are meant to be subverted, and writing is for exploration. If we only wrote what we know as writers we would be unadventurous and if you are a writer you would know when you simply wrote from your life, unless it’s a memoir, it can be flat and lifeless.
Some of us, and I would say most, writers write to explore the “others” experience, to know and to tell a story not our own. This is not a rule either, and at times I write myself into a story. But for this novel that has planted itself within my being, and will not rest or be silenced until it is written out and shared, I am writing a completely foreign world to my own. Characters that I believe, through extensive research and consultation with those I wish to embody, I can and will bring to life. I am not saying it’s easy, but nothing worth doing is.
And as the other author states, I didn’t choose it, it chose me. It is a mystical spiritual thing that I have seen these two women’s lives and I wish to honour these women who exist in our world right now and are fighting battles we only see on the news.
I am not writing this to be controversial or contentious, I am writing this novel because I can do no other right now.
Thanks for reading,
Kind regards, Suzanne