On writing only what you know

A paradigm-changing snippet courtesy of a piece by Lidija Haas in The London Review of Books.

Reviewing A Grace Paley Reader: Stories, Essays and Poetry, Haas highlights Paley’s inversion of the established advice to “write what you know”, asserting that to do so is the “best way to end up with something dead on the page”:

It’s a real mistake [Paley suggests] to assume that what is nearest to the foundations of your own life is what you know best: nothing dulls the senses like proximity. […] If you find you already know the answer, ‘drop the subject.’

I like this!

About Hannah

Author of literary historical fiction set in the First World War. Revising my first book, writing the next, seeking representation. Mountaineer, gardener, traveller, off-road runner. Africa, modern history, coffee, roses, films, book and unrealistic romance. NHS midwife in a former life.
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