Writing From What You Know

Great artists will often take an area of their expertise and market it to a different group by translating it into the vernacular of their intended audience.

For instance, Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes fame, takes genre fiction such as White Noise by Don Delillo or The History of Love by Nicole Krauss and markets it to the indie-folk/emo crowd.

Jack White once said, “With the White Stripes we were trying to trick people into not realizing we were playing the blues. We did not want to come off like white kids trying to play black music from 100 years ago so a great way to distract them was by dressing in red, white and black.”

Dessa, the rapper, writes using philosophical ponderings, ancient mythologies, and other subjects of high academia, but she sells it by using rap and spoken word. Sometimes she “steals” lines outright, such as Frida Kahlo’s “I came to drown a sorrow. It seems they’ve learned to swim.”

As Picasso said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.”

How can you take one area of knowledge that you have and market it to a different group, in a different language, so to speak? How do these ideas play into the flash fictions you create?

Have you entered our flash fiction contest yet? Win $50 and get published on Short Tale Shrew! Enter here.


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