I stumbled across a quote by Chris Patten that said, “Those of us who had a perfectly healthy childhood should be able to sue for deprivation of literary royalties.”
I happen to agree with Patten that suffering whether large or small is a prerequisite to good writing. Good writing whether fiction or not draws upon our own emotions and our own experiences. How are we to tell a story if we have not experienced, in some degree, that which we are writing about? Every single teacher or professor I have ever had has always given the same advice ‘write about what you know and what you are passionate about, that’s where the best writing comes from.’
Good writing is infused with emotion that draws readers in…that makes them feel connected to characters, to the story. In order to do that the emotion must be real, it must be authentic. In an interview with J.K. Rowling she stated that she came up with the idea of dementors because of the deep depression she fell into after her mother’s death. The reason that the description of the effects of dementors was so well written was because Rowling had felt that depression so deeply herself.
If our lives were perfect…if we felt no loss or pain or loneliness or heartache or unrequited love…what would make up our books? What would we write about? It is our trials and tribulations that make us who we are that shape our understanding and perspective of the world around us. This is why there are so many authors…why there are so many love stories…why we can relate to the pain of others and feel it so deeply.
Good writing is born out of hardship, of pain, of loss…of desire to move on from our pain.