Wednesday, 4 November 2009

On information

Even though writing is about your own ideas, your imagination and your creativity, there’s still something no writer can do without: information.

When I was younger (around eleven or so, when I started writing as a hobby), I thought I could do without it – or with the little bit of information I had gathered through reading stories.

As I grew older, I also grew wiser. Today I know I need to get information about the main topics of a new story. Sometimes that means a long session in front of the computer to search the net for it (praise to the internet for making all that information available to anybody with a computer and a connection!). Sometimes that means long sessions with a load of heavy books. Sometimes it means talking to someone who has the necessary information. Sometimes the information comes from my everyday life (in this blog, in certain areas of life). As I grow older, I also gather experience – and that’s information, too.

While it might not hurt your story not to have any real information at your disposal, there will always be one reader (or two or ten or one hundred) who knows all about the subject. And while this reader might forgive you minor mistakes, major mistakes will make him or her angry. They will not like the story and they will not think high of you any longer.

In addition, it’s quite often crucial to the story and its development to know what you’re writing about. Information means you know what might happen. And that means you can make it happen in a story.

Still, nobody can know everything and that means only going into detail as much as necessary – and gather all information you need for this level of detail.

Information equals power, in society, in politics and in writing.

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