They say to write what you know. That will give your writing greater depth and believability. It’ll be real. But how far should an author go in the pursuit of authenticity? We can’t all experience every emotion, or every action. For the experiences we haven’t had personally, we can read newspapers, journal articles, research papers. We can talk to people; friends and strangers. One thing we shouldn’t do is groom vulnerable people, make them trust us, then betray them.
It takes a lot of courage for someone who has been hurt to trust again, and even more courage to speak openly about the pain they’ve suffered. For someone to come along and use that courage and vulnerability for their own ends, without permission, is reprehensible.
I don’t usually comment on these things, and certainly not in the heat of the moment. I wait until I calm down and understand clearly what I’m thinking and feeling. I haven’t calmed down with this one; not at all. I am outraged and filled with a deep, all-consuming sorrow.
You don’t need to use and betray others to achieve a feeling of authenticity in your writing. You only need to have compassion and empathy. You only need to respect others and understand their lives are not yours. If you can’t do that, perhaps you’re writing in the wrong genre. If you can’t imagine it, perhaps you’re in the wrong business.
E E Montgomery
About writing, life, and random thoughts.
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