Matthew Wright has some good ideas here about the necessary knowledge base of a writer. Knowing a little bit about everything is an ideal we may aspire to, even if we never reach it. I never pass by a bit of trivia … you never know when it may prove not only useful but vital!
It has always been a source of frustration to me, as a writer, that critics assume the only thing I know how to write about is whatever my last book was on. I’ve found, time and again, that if I write on something else, the first response by those who regard the new subject as their own personal possession is to deny my expertise in it.
It happened just a few weeks ago, in fact, though the critic should have known better as the topic was the very one I am formally trained in. I love irony. But the fact is that writers have to have a broad knowledge of a lot of subjects anyway.
That’s partly because one of the keys to longevity in this field is versatility.
But a broad knowledge is essential even when writing on a single subject. The world you’re building with your words – be it fiction, non-fiction or whatever –…
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