Our Masterpieces...Err, Our Novels

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Write What You Know?

Workout Song of the Day: "Your Heels" by Day 26

Here's the thing, I'm given the same advice during every workshop/conference/casual encounter: write what you know. Simple enough. Except if you want to write fantasy, then that's a whole different ballgame (unless you happen to actually know a vampiric wizard from another planet).

I'm a contemporary writer. Very straightforward. I like writing about inner conflicts, and having these confrontations come into play based on social interactions. Believe me, it's way more exciting than it sounds. I tend to base many characters on people that I know or observed or briefly met. And that's how I came to my most recent problem: what if you're writing about someone that you don't actually like?

You see, I'm working on a short story based on a former coworker who's a tad on the annoying side. Except that he/she doesn't know that he/she is annoying. Oh, and he/she doesn't realize that I don't like him/her.

I was having a blast during the first few paragraphs--clearly over-exaggerating every irritating habit of Loud Former Coworker (LFC). But then the guilt set in. Am I going too far? What if LFC actually reads my piece (highly doubtful) and realizes my inspiration? Now I'm trying to decide if I should just continue with the story, or resolve my conflict with this person face to face. It's easy to vent behind a laptop, but confronting this person is a little intimidating. I have to put some thought behind this one--without stuffing my face with pizza or cheeseburgers. Baked potato chips, anyone?

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