Why Every Writer Is Different

By on July 12, 2016
Why Every Writer Is Different - Writer's Life.org

Writers can often be very secretive creatures, and ones who are hugely protective of their ideas. Some refuse to so much as even give away a hint of what they are writing about in case their idea is ‘stolen’ by someone else.

However, even if you were to give two writers the exact same prompts for a story it would turn out completely different - in fact, this happens all the time, be it in writing classes or exercises, writing competitions or even when researching the structure and common characteristics of your story's genre.

The reason for this? Because writers cannot help but draw upon their past experiences, which have, in turn, shaped the way that they view the world. We only see things through our eyes, feel things the way that only we do, react to situations because of how we have been brought up, or because of things that have happened to us in the past.

Even when our lives have been difficult, these experiences, and how we got through them will undoubtedly influence our writing, whether we make a conscious decision to use them or not - and you know what? That’s actually a really good thing.

The fact that each of our lives is its own rich, unique tapestry means that tapping into our experiences and emotions can make our writing emotional, engaging and truly beautiful too. That’s why if you tell a bunch of writers to write a story about a woman going through a divorce who finds a bag of money under a park bench they will all come up with completely different ways of looking at the situation.

Some may write a character who is sad and lonely, one who has been broken by the divorce and can use the money to help raise her family.

Some might decide that the woman was responsible for the divorce and decides that reuniting the money with its rightful owner will somehow compensate for the mistakes she made in her marriage.

Others might see the woman deciding to spend the money recklessly, living a life she could have only dreamt of before - with consequences that might end up good or bad.

These are only three examples of hundreds of different ways writers could choose to write that story.

Writing simply involves a series of choices. In this instance the writers have choices to make about who the woman is, and where the money came from, and, as the story develops even more choices will  become apparent. No writer will choose exactly the same path as another, and so each story will be a wonderfully individual one dependent on the writers own unique take on the world, the choices they make, and their ability to imagine a future - not only for the woman in the story, but also for themselves.

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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