Monday, May 23, 2016

Does Going Through Crap Make One a Better Writer? Plus The Nice Guys Review, Buddy Movie Trivia, and Ninja News

Movie Review - The Nice Guys

Directed by Shane Black and starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, it’s a quirky film. If you’ve ever seen the director’s movie Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, you’ll understand the type of quirkiness.
The film harkens back to the 80’s and 90’s buddy films. (Reminded me a little of The Last Boy Scout.) Crowe and Gosling are a mismatched pair who have to work together to solve the mystery.
It wasn’t quite a funny as I’d been led to believe. The humor is more quirky, less laugh out loud.
The characters are damaged. They really aren’t nice guys. (They aren’t really bad guys, either.) They do go through a process of some redemption though.
It’s also rated R for a reason – violence, language, and nudity (as the plot involves investigating the porn industry.)
Marginally recommended. (Unless you really dig films like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, then go see it!)

Ninja News

The Thing That Turned Me anthology from Stay Classy Productions will be out on June 30.
When asked to contribute, I decided to return to the Cassa universe and a time in Byron’s life before he began Cosbolt training.
Read CassaDawn and other stories on June 30!

This also came in the mail last week, all the way from the UK!

I have an autographed copy of Yvonne Lewis’ latest book, Stand by Me, Danny Boy. 

Thank you, Yvonne!

New Releases

A Spy in Me, The Harley Files, Freshman Year, Book 1 by Rebecca Green Gasper
When college student Harley Jenkins finds out she’s on probation with her university for something her roommate has done, she decides to distract herself with the mysterious death of a local girl by hiding out in small spaces even though she’s claustrophobic. Will Harley be able to solve the mystery before it takes the lives of more girls, or will she have to back out to solve her own problem?
Find it at Amazon and Smashwords

Chaos Season (The Season Avatars Book 3) by Sandra Ulbrich Almazan
Jenna Dorshay t’Reve isn’t your typical farmer’s daughter. Blessed with plant magic, she’s been impatiently waiting to take her place as Summer Avatar of Challen. All she and her sister Season Avatars have to do is tame a Chaos Season, a magical weather storm sent to Challen by a wrathful demigoddess…
Find it at Amazon

Cassie and The Wild Cat: Run Wild With A Child by Pat Hatt
Cassie and The Wild Cat are back for their 6th adventure at their shack. This time they were having a good meal when they were met with a new ordeal. A child came in and they both considered that a sin.
Find it at Amazon

Swepty Away by Elizabeth Seckman
He came looking for a ghost. Instead, he found a girl.
Find it on Amazon

Sometimes the Walls Cry: A book of Haiku and Sketch by Dean Miller

Movie Trivia

It’s time for some movie trivia! In honor of The Nice Guys, today features all buddy films. Name them based on the actors and year.

1 – Robert De Niro, Charles Grodin 1988
2 – Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith 1997
3 – Nick Nolte, Eddie Murphy, 1982
4 – David Spade, John Goodman 2000
5 – Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell 1989
6 – Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker 1998
7 – Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy 2001

Does Going Through Crap Make One a Better Writer?

We know writers tend to be an insecure bunch. But it seems that’s not all. After years of associating with other writers and thousands of IWSG posts, I noticed some common threads.

Many writers have been through some crap in their life. Maybe it was a bad childhood, a divorce, drugs, alcohol, illness – the list is endless. It’s left scars and many seem to draw upon their difficult experiences to write great stories.

There’s also the emotional roller coaster. Writers can be depressed one minute and excited the next. Again, everyone seems to draw from this whirlwind of emotions when writing. They make their mental and emotional hang ups work to their advantage.

My question – do you need to go through some of that stuff in order to be a good writer? The reason I ask? Because none of that describes me.

I’ve really never been through anything traumatic. I had a good childhood. Never experienced drugs or any addiction. My wife and I have never had issues outside of the usual ‘heated discussions.’ I’ve experienced death of course, losing family members and friends. But overall, I’ve had a really good life. Plus, I’m even-keeled when it comes to emotions. I don’t experience real highs or lows.

As far as I can tell, that is not normal for a writer.

(Although it’s not just with writing. I hear others give their salvation story – they were alcoholics, on drugs, atheists, angry with the world, etc. – and it’s a great testimony. Me? I was actually having a pretty good life when I got saved. Until I got saved, I had no idea anything was really missing. My testimony would be really boring.)

So, does it take that stuff to be a good writer? Does it make one more worldly and experienced?

Seen The Nice Guys yet? Picking up some new books? Know any of the trivia? And does going through stuff make one a better writer?

I will be gone Memorial Day weekend – catch you all on June 1 for the IWSG!


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex - the Anthology looks good ... I'll look forward to it. Congratulations to Yvonne and how nice of her to send a copy over. Elizabeth Seckman's book looks good ... as to disasters ... I've never wanted to write about them ... and the blog ended as it did, because I didn't want to record or drag myself into thinking negatively ... if I ever get to write stories then some might come out. Thankfully even though life isn't easy as someone said the other day - you'll pull through, simply because there's a way and there's always another route ... I am positive by nature though - and I'm sure your creative juices just have a different approach - and the challenges many experience may be touched on in your writing, as you'll be understanding more being in the blogging fraternity.

Cheers Hilary

Nicola said...

The Nice Guys isn't really my kind of film but Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling were promoting the film on the very funny chat show 'The Graham Norton Show' in the UK on Friday. They were very funny during the interview but good ole Graham does bring that on :)

Is it necessary for writers to have experienced the bad stuff in order to write well? I would say not really, no. Have I experienced 'suffering'? No more than the normal life's lessons and battles but I do draw on those experiences from time to time in order to describe a certain emotion within my characters. Good writing comes from practice, not how much crappiness a person has endured.

Great post, Alex!

Mason Canyon said...

Not sure THE NICE GUYS will be one of those movies I watch. Congrats to you on the anthology release and congrats to everyone else with new releases. As far as having to go through crap to be a good writer - well from a readers view point, I don't think so. Sometimes if a writer gets catch up in their own bad stuff, they go overboard with their characters.

kaykuala said...

A lot of rumbles in the background. The busy Bees! Things have been moving what wonderful news filtering through. Cassa Dawn, Stand by Me, Danny Boy, Cassie and the Wild Cat - the prolific crowd - congrats on the ever moving production line. And Going through the Crap in life makes for lots of serious thinking. These can well answer the question of 'what could have been!' Yes, on reflection it can be very educational! Thanks Alex!


Just Keepin It Real, Folks! said...

Thanks for your review of The Nice Guys. I really want to go see it this weekend, probably for the reasons you listed it was rated R:violence; language; and nudity, especially if the last one involves Ryan Gosling! WOW, you sure have led a charmed life and are certainly very blessed. I sure would love to tell you my life experiences sometime so you would know what crazy looks like!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for letting us know The Nice Guys isn't so hot. I don't think you have to have a hard life to write as long as you can develop your characters--which you can do. I wouldn't wish some of the traumas I've already gone through in life on anyone just so they could write.

Truedessa said...

Good Morning, A lot of news today. I look forward to reading Cassa Dawn and congrats to the others with releases. To answer your question our life experiences make us who we are today. I think in writing some of those experiences might come out in characters or plot development. I would say you have been blessed with a charmed life. My life is unique filled with mystery and some life changing experiences. As far as writing a story I have written two short stories that no one has read. Often my poetry is based on my emotions at the time of writing. I think if a person is creative and imaginative he/she can write an amazing story regardless of their actual life. My life story is unique and people wouldn't believe half of what I have experienced.

Have a wonderful week!

Cathrina Constantine said...

Unfortunately, I've gone through crap. I tend to keep it to myself, not wishing to burden the already burdened population. My faith gets me through it all. If I didn't have God, I'd probably be a basket case. Does it make me a better writer? Not in my case. I have written a book which hasn't been published yet that has some personal experiences in it, but I kept it a work of fiction.

Have a very nice Memorial Weekend!!

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Thanks for the shout-out, Alex! Any idea why the Chaos Season cover isn't showing properly?

To answer your question, while I've gone through depressive episodes and had a few setbacks, my life hasn't been terrible. I've been inspired to write by a desire to escape the ordinary and to communicate with people who see the world as I do. As I get older and have more experiences, I get story ideas from them. We writers often force our characters to endure horrible things, but firsthand experience isn't always needed write about them. Imagination, empathy, and research can fill the gap.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Alex, like you I too have had an emotionally good life (pampered and maybe spoilt a little bit). Perhaps that's the reason I write happy, happy stories.

I don't think it takes that kind of stuff to make a good writer. Everyone has different experiences and we learn from our experiences.

mshatch said...

1. Midnight Run (one of my all-time faves)
2. MIB
3. 48 Hours

That's all I know

As for going through crap, I think all our experiences help us as writers and as people. Both the good and the bad. The reason the bad can be more important in writing is that we'll write with a truer understanding of what we put our characters through. I also think being widely read can help give us perspective on what other people experience (readers are known to be more open minded and empathetic than non readers in general) and just because one hasn't experienced something doesn't mean one can't write about it. For example, I don't know what its like to be an orphan but maybe I can draw on some feelings I've had at times when I may have felt like an orphan. Or, to use an even better example, I don't know what it's like to be able to cast a spell, but I sure can imagine it. I think the hardest thing would be tapping into the darker emotions if you've never experienced them but again, reading is the writer's best friend.

Jo said...

Having read Swept Away, I can highly recommend it. Good story.

I definitely think, from my association with writers, that they need to go through lots of angst to become writers, whether it be successful or not. You are the exception which proves the rule Alex. It doesn't necessarily have to be drugs or drink, but there are lots of other things as you know. It gives a writer an personal insight into emotions and feelings which they can draw on for their writing.

Good luck to all the new writers you have mentioned.

Laura Pauling said...

Way to be honest. :) I think there are a lot of even-keeled writers out just don't hear or read about them as often. I also think writing and art is healing and a safe place to explore pasts that many adults still are coming to terms with.

Sherry Ellis said...

I don't think you have to go through tough times to be a good writer. Sure, writing can be an outlet. But difficult times aren't what make a good writer.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Nicola, good to know.

Hank, fortunately no one is reading my books for serious thinking then.

Deb, I'm sure you could make my life look really boring.

Natalie, good point.

Truedessa, and I'm sure it's the uniqueness of our lives that adds to our creativity.

Cathrina, glad you had God with you in those times.

Sandra, is there something wrong it it? Looks fine now. And I can do the empathy.

Rachna, and maybe we're supposed to write the happier stories.

Marcy, you got three! And good point - I have read a lot. And traveled which has added to my experiences.

Laura, good to know!

Misha Gerrick said...

I don't think one needs a specific set of life experiences to be a better writer. Or else fantasy and sci fi probably wouldn't even exist.

As for emotional depth... someone (I think it was Stephen King but I can't be dead sure now.) said that to be a writer you need at least two of the following three things: experience, imagination and skill. Any lack in one of these is compensated for by the other two.

It's only when you lack two of those things that you're bound to run into trouble. Lucky us that skill can be gained with practice.

Shady Del Knight said...

Hi, Alex!

Thanks for reviewing The Nice Guys. With a nondescript title like that - it HAS to be good! :) I enjoyed those 80’s and 90’s buddy films (must be a guy thing) and I look forward to seeing The Nice Guys.

Have a great week, good buddy Alex!

M.J. Fifield said...

I only knew #2 and #6 in the movie trivia. Some of the pairings were surprising to me, so I must do some research later on today.

And I don't think a writer necessarily has to go through crap in order to be a good writer. I, too, was going to mention that quote that Misha mentioned. Only, I read it as

“A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.”

and credited to William Faulkner.

But whoever and however it was said, the sentiment, I believe, is accurate.

shelly said...

Writing is a gift from God. The other stuff is just experience to help others cope.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

#5 is Tango and Cash. (I love Kurt Russell.)

I think going through stuff helps us identify with pain better, but it's not necessary. There are other ways to learn about human pain than personal experience.

Jemi Fraser said...

The last 6 months have been the most difficult of my life - but I'm not sure that'll make me a better writer. I think it's all about us on the inside :)

Pat Hatt said...

Depends what one is writing about I think. If you are writing about addiction, pain, etc. It may make it come to life more experiencing it first hand. But you know, there are 100's of great shows and 1000's of books that are good that I guarantee no one experienced first hand. Fighting aliens, zombies, etc. lol so doubtful. You can be the most experienced person in the word and still be crap at writing.

Thanks for the shout. These ones were super easy, didn't even have to think about them. Too bad The Nice Guys wasn't Lethal Weapon level good.

Midnight Run
48 Hrs
The Emperor's new groove
Tango and Cash
Rush Hour

Christine Rains said...

Interesting review, but probably not something I'd rush off to see. I still really need to go see Captain America! As through going through bad stuff, it doesn't necessarily make one a better writer. Most people I know have been through horrible things whether they be writers or not. To be a good writer, you must be able to empathize and have a fantastic imagination. :) Have a terrific long weekend!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I love your rating "marginally recommended." :) Ha!

Gosh, I hope we don't have to overcome tragedy to be good writers because I'm in much the same boat as you. I came to it from a different direction--daydreaming child, huge reader, made up stories of my own very early. Plus the fact that I can't do anything else!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I have also wondered the same thing. Does the fact that I've never had anything traumatic happen to me leave me incapable of correctly portraying a character who HAS? I hope not, although perhaps it explains my recent difficulty allowing my MC to show deep, soul-wrecking regret for a horrendous act. Hmmm. said...

It's not the pain of going thru crap that makes a person a good writer. It's the pain of working on oneself, of trying to figure it all out and realizing there aren't clear answers, and of writing like mad anyway.

Have a great week and holiday weekend, Alex.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Congratulations for all the new books. So exciting.
I think your testimony would be inspiring because everyone has his/her own story in life. We're all unique. You never know what a person might take from your own experience. I don't know whether having a tough life influences a writer. It would give topics to write about. Then writers are creative and don't have to have lived a bad life to write stories about the dark side. I'm rambling.
Have a great week.

Sandra Cox said...

Very interesting post. You've been fortunate, Alex.I'm glad about that. And even though you haven't went through fire, you're still a bestseller:) I do believe writing lets us expunge both searing and negative emotions that need an outlet.
And you are certainly right about the highs and lows of writing. One day its smiles and the next hand wringing:)

Unknown said...

I love the term, "Marginally Recommend". There are sooooo many things that fit that category.

Leandra Wallace said...

I don't think you have to have bad experiences to be a good writer. I think creativity comes from the person, and while experiences may shape some of their writing, they're not the wellspring. What makes you 'you', is where your creativity to write great stories comes from. Well, that was a horrible explanation, lol! Happy Monday! ;)

Arlee Bird said...

Going through crap has nothing to do with being a better writer. We all go through some kind of bad stuff and troubles and travails. Doesn't make us all writers. I've know people who have gone through terrible things as well as really cool and amazing things who are not good writers. I've known good writers who seemed like they had pretty uneventful lives from the surface view. Experiences certainly help inspire the stories, but they don't make the writer.

We become better writers through writing, telling stories, observing the world around us, and reading other writers. The way we process our experiences and emotions and interpret what we learn in life helps channel what's in our heads onto the paper before us.

Arlee Bird
A to Z Challenge Co-host
Tossing It Out

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I couldn't quite imagine Russell Crowe in a comedy so I'll probably skip that one.
I don't believe you have to go through something traumatic to be a good writer but I do believe that some people have found writing helps them move forward after something soul-shattering. Enjoy your holiday.

Murees Dupè said...

Hey Alex. I think it’s because you’re such a great and well balanced person that you can be there for so many of us. If you were going through crap too, you wouldn’t be available to help and encourage so many. There are different kinds of writers with different experiences. We need that. If everyone was the same, well, the blogosphere would be a depressing place. Thank you for all you do for us.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I know six of the trivia movies this time. The only one I haven't seen is #5. I agree with the others that you don't need to have bad experiences to be a good writer. I think the only advantage, if you can call it that, bad experiences might give you is if you're putting your characters through those specific experiences. You'd have the depth of those experiences to draw from. But many people who haven't experienced traumatic events themselves, know others who have gone through them, and some people are just able to imagine themselves into such situations and realistically write how they would feel. Everyone's writing comes from the depths of his/her own heart and soul, whatever their experiences in life, and that's what makes it special. If that makes sense...

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Thanks so much for the shout out!! I didn't do much blog tour wise because life is a little crazy right now and I didn't want to overwhelm myself and get all writer crazy. LOL

Speaking of your we need to be I don't think a writer has to be any one certain thing. I think writers are just more vocal about their feelings, histories, etc. I'm sure there are just as many roller-coaster living bankers and teachers, they just don't have the platform to tell about it.

To me, it's the power of observation that makes a successful writer.. To write well, you need to be quiet long enough to listen and look around.

And you need to be a drinker. (Just joking, btw...don't schedule me an intervention!)

cleemckenzie said...

That's a sweet gift from Yvonne. I love the others you've featured here today. And Elizabeth Seckman's tagline is excellent.

As to going through crap...I'm sure it must help just as going through those sweet times helps when you need an emotion or a motivation.

Have you seen Utopia? Someone described it to me and I think I must see it.

Rebecca Green Gasper said...

Thanks, Alex for the shout out on my new release! Much appreciated! I think we all have a story to tell, regardless of if it is tough or not. A good life and even emotions can give you just as good as a story to write. Don't you think creativity comes from so much more than a bad experience...? Best to you always, Becca

Botanist said...

I've had my share of upsets but nothing as dramatic as a damaged childhood or a traumatic break up or addiction. So going through crap in life may give you a perspective for certain types of writing, but I don't think it's a prerequisite. More important (as Elizabeth says) is observation, and I suggest the ability to visualize.

That's probably why my writing is set far away in time and space. I don't do gritty reality. But then again I do have to work at making my characters nasty to each other, that just doesn't come naturally.

Chrys Fey said...

I started writing before any of my troubles started. That's also because I started writing at the age of twelve. At the time, I had experienced some childhood issues such as family fights that will stick with me. But it wasn't until I was seventeen when my real troubles began. Those things have helped me with my writing, especially with the darker areas (though I've never been through anything like addiction or have been physically hurt). I did struggle with depression, though. I think writers all draw from whatever they know. It's just the ones who have been through hard stuff probably have more to share on the subject, which is why it seems like most writers go through a lot like that. It's just not the bad, though. The good things writers experience influence us, too.

Heather M. Gardner said...

I don't think you have to go through crap to write well.
I think you have a great imagination, and you're very empathetic, and that's where you probably draw from. You don't have to be in the shoes, but you can imagine what it would be like to be in the shoes.

Congrats on all the new releases everyone!

1 – Robert De Niro, Charles Grodin 1988 - Midnight something or something Midnight?
2 – Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith 1997 - MIB
3 – Nick Nolte, Eddie Murphy, 1982 - 48 hours?
4 – David Spade, John Goodman 2000 - ?
5 – Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell 1989 - Tango & Cash?
6 – Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker 1998 - Rush hour?
7 – Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy 2001 - Shrek!!!

Hi Alex!

Joanne said...

I have had no trauma or issues. I think my writing leans toward upbeat. Maybe some poems go dark but it is more from word play than soul searching. I was interested in Nice Guys but from your review I will pay cheap matinee. Have a Great Memorial Weekend.

Liz A. said...

I don't know that you have to go through stuff to be a good writer. Many people need that push to find themselves, but I'm sure there are many who do not. Or, you could just be an outlier ;)

1. Midnight Run
2. Men in Black
3. 48 Hours
4. ??
5. ??
6. Rush Hour
7. Shrek

A Beer for the Shower said...

I'm kinda surprised to hear that The Nice Guys isn't all that funny. I hate when a movie shows all of the funny parts during the trailer. I wanted to see it based on comedy alone.

And hey, who needs to go through trauma when you can just write about it? Both of us have had great lives, but we've also lived through some great, unbelievable stories. Not every story has to contain heartbreak to be good.

Intangible Hearts said...

This is your best post--ever. Asking other writers about emotion and noticing it in others is wonderful. Have you ever read The Prophet by Gibran? What I took away from there was that in our deepest sorrows lies our deepest joy. As a writer, the deeper the pain, the deeper we can dig into our emotional arsenal. I wish my testimony about being saved would be boring. Trust me. Not every writer needs to portray death and deep emotion. People who have been through the mill want to reach for positive, happy books or humor so they can forget the past. I think there's room for everyone on the shelf. I. Midnight Run 2. Men in Black 3. Trading Places sorry, I'm going on too long but again, I loved your post.

Andrew Leon said...

The poster makes it look more 70s. I'm sure I'll see it when it's on DVD.

The thing that makes a great writer? Empathy.

H. R. Sinclair said...

I was hoping Nice Guys would be funny. I will probably see it anyway, eventually. :)

Writing is like acting, empathy is needed. People in general have to deal with dark periods. Writers dig into that emotion, people enjoy the happy times.

Cherie Reich said...

Hmm, that's a good question, Alex. Does having life experiences (good or bad) help writing? Yes, but I think any good writer can take any type of experience and find a way to relate it to what they're writing. We all experience an arrange of emotions at some point, even if we don't have anything really bad happen to us.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Misha, guess I'm safe then.

MJ, that's even better.

Shelly, well said!

Diane, correct.

Pat, you're welcome, and perfect score!

Karen, good point.

Elizabeth, I guess that's where mine comes from as well.

Dianne, perhaps.

Thanks Beverly and Sandra!

Libby, exactly.

Leandra, and yet I understood...

Susan, he was actually quite funny. They both were.

Murees, thanks - very good point.

Lori, it did.

Elizabeth, you and Mark! And sorry I forgot to shout out last week.

Lee, there's a couple movies called Utopia but I haven't seen either of them.

Rebecca, you're welcome.

Ian, doesn't come natural for me either.

Heather, you got most of them!

Liz, five right!

Brandon and Bryan, true!

Eva, thank you! I'll stick to writing upbeat. And you got two right.

Andrew, the story is set in the 70's.

The Angry Lurker said...

1 – Robert De Niro, Charles Grodin 1988: Midnight Run
2 – Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith 1997: Men in Black
3 – Nick Nolte, Eddie Murphy, 1982: 48 Hours
4 – David Spade, John Goodman 2000: ?????
5 – Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell 1989: Tango and Cash
6 – Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker 1998: Rush Hour
7 – Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy: 2001 Shrek

Nilanjana Bose said...

Is the 2001 Mike-Eddie film Shrek? Wow, I've just answered a film question :)

I don't think going through hardships necessarily makes for good writing. A good writer must-haves are an imagination, and a relentless passion for story telling.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I hope Nice Guys does well. Mr. Gosling is a good ole Canadian boy, so it's nice to see someone from our neck of the woods having a successful career.

I am having a great life, but it hasn't always been that way. I don't think suffering trauma makes you a better writer. I think empathy and imagination do.

Happy weekend off!

Birgit said...

My hubby is an avid Russell Crowe fan so we do want to see this film. Congrats to all the authors with their new books. I actually agree with all the answers that Francis Lee stated above. I love 48 hours. I think if someone is excellent in writing then it doesn't matter what experiences they went through...if you are talented, then, you are talented. One also writes with what one is happy with and feels comfortable about. You may not write about Romance or Teen books but you appreciate them but they are not your forte. Stephen King wrote horror and non horror but I can't see him write a steamy romance. Maybe I'm wrong. You are very lucky to have had the life you have because, I believe, it is rare.

Gossip_Grl said...

I honestly don't think that people have to go through things in order to be a great writer. I may never have a book on earth but boy will my kids have some good stories to tell. :) Writing for me is therapy especially in the bad times. I can get it all out. I also like helping others who are going through the same kind of pain.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Hi Mini Alex! No Alex you don't need to go through a whole bunch of bad stuff to be a writer. I had a fine childhood though there was physical and verbal abuse. In fact some came from the fact that I did not want to pursue a traditional career path. Yet I never wanted to be a writer because of that stuff. I wanted to be a writer in spite of it. Being happy and having a great life does not exclude you from being a writer. Despite the good or bad that happened in my life my priority has always been among other things looking out for my happiness. Being sad and broody has never been my thing and depression sucks. I decided from a young age never to drink and that had nothing to do with having drunk parents or experiencing tragedy. Experiences and decisions can come from happy places and that's where I believe your urge to write comes from Alex. Though living a positive life. Trust me your auto-biography might not be as boring as you think. Why do you think you have so many visitors to your blog?!

Movie Trivia

2- Men in Black, 3- 48 Hours, 6- Rush Hour. Really mad that I did not get Shrek for #7. Nice Guys seems like a niche comedy to me and I don't go to movies much to watch comedy to begin with.

Mark said...

It's funny that there are all these stereotypes of the writer who goes through drug addictions, poverty, bad life choices, etc., and it's often writers themselves putting this stuff out there. Then again, I think life in general is hard and writers get an average share of it.

dolorah said...

I don't think you have to go through "crap" to be a good writer; unless you are writing characters that experience a certain type of devastation. If you have ever experienced any type of loss, or physical or emotional pain, you can draw on your level of pain (it was bad for you, even if not on a traumatic level), or insecurities. Everybody has been through something.

And if you write feel-good, upbeat stories, then I imagine you'd "want" to have experienced lots of positive situations :)

Like being a doctor: you don't have to have experienced an illness/injury to be able to treat it.

Charles Gramlich said...

I've not had any serious bad things happen to me either. I think we can all have experiences that we can then exaggerate maybe to produce stories. I don't think it's necessary, but maybe going through traumas helps some folks find the inspration to write.

Suzanne Furness said...

I definitely don't think you have to have experienced traumatic times to be a good writer but on a personal level I know I do draw on my own experiences. Writing has also been a great healer for me over the years.
Congratulations to Yvonne on her new book. How great you have a copy.

nashvillecats2 said...

Thanks Alex for the mention and photo.
Great post as always.

Susan Kane said...

Pat Hatt identified all of them, I think. Some of them I loved, a few I would not rent.

Since I write most short stories and flash fiction, I don't get frustrated. However, I do have this wonderful storyline that...

Tonja Drecker said...

How nice of Yvonne to send the book! I think there's simply a lot of people who have gone through 'crap'. Whether it makes a better writer, I doubt it. It probably does shape how they write and what they write though. But isn't all of our writing that way? Enjoy the holiday!

Elephant's Child said...

Congratulations and thanks as always to all the writers.
I don't think that going through crap is what makes a writer (unless their chosen genre is misery memoirs). Empathy and hard work? Lots of hard work?

J E Oneil said...

Meh, I'm sick of that kind of movie. It's been done to death. I can think of a half a dozen buddy movies that haven't even made your trivia list.

I don't think writers have to go through traumatic lives to be writers. But I've been through some trauma myself and it isn't what makes me want to write. Maybe the writers who do just talk about it more?

Liza said...

Any life experience, good or bad can be channeled into writing. But even without drama, a writer has to be tuned into nuance and detail in the real world, and have an open imagination, and then be capable of shaping all that together with with words and scenes that intrigue. Clearly, you've got that skill, and it appears, a happy life, too. Good on you!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Fran, excellent - six right!

Nila, yes! You got one.

Birgit, I think you're right.

Sheena-kay, well said. And three right!

Donna, good point.

Yvonne, thanks for sending the book!

JE, maybe.

Thanks, Liza!

J.L. Campbell said...

Interesting batch of releases. I don't believe we have to live traumatic lives to be good writers.

Yolanda Renée said...

Your question is a fair one. I've no idea what the answer is though. I've been through hell a few times, and like the Timex, I keep on ticking. :) Don't know if it makes my writing richer, or just more murderous. LOL
And the books and authors just keep on coming. Love it!
Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!

Tyrean Martinson said...

We need a few more boring testimonies given - it's good to know that not everyone has to have that crazy of a story to be saved, or to write.
I've had my own personal traumas, but it's not the reason I write, and it's not the reason I have faith.

Yay for new books!!!

Trivia guesses (I've seen all of them, but names/titles elude me)
2 - Men in Black
3 - Beverly Hills Cop
6 - Rush Hour

Anonymous said...

My childhood was good, but I guess I do have highs and lows that I can draw from for my writing. Guess you are an odd-ball, Alex. ;)

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Bummer about The Nice Guy. I'm sure my husband will like it. Me, funny must be hilarious and belly-grabbing, or it's just stupid. Yeah, I'm that girl.

Stephanie Faris said...

My childhood wasn't good and look at the books I write--all happy-happy-cheerful! I think we all come to this point after our own unique journeys and those journeys are what made us who we are. It could be that you felt like you didn't belong in school or that you went through deaths...but we all go through things, even if they aren't what you'd think of as seriously traumatic. I've read your writing and one thing I remember was the realism in the scene of a character losing a parent...that comes from life experience, I think, even if it's not your own parent. You drew on something deep. I've seen writers who have been through horrible childhoods who can't access that part of themselves to make themselves vulnerable on the page like that...and that makes their writing hollow, I think.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

The actress who played the daughter in THE NICE GUYS did a wonderful job, didn't she?

Writers need empathy to write well. Crap can either make you bitter (no empathy) or better (increased empathy.) It is the mind-set we bring to our prose that is all important I believe. :-)

Unknown said...

I think almost all of the best art comes out of things not being right. But the great thing is that it doesn't have to be anything as big and imposing as drug and alcohol problems. If you dig, you can always find something wrong to draw from. For example, you've just revealed an insecurity you feel about your artistic ability. That kind of fear could easily be put to good use (and I would say you've already started; that paragraph was very interesting to read).

Shannon Lawrence said...

No, I don't think you have to have lived through bad things to be a good writer. I imagine there can be a different feel if someone has lived a lot of bad vs a lot of good, maybe difference in voice? But in no way is it required. I'm sitting here sifting through my writer friends mentally in order to try and see who didn't have it hard, and I only come up with one, but I'm betting that has more to do with certain types of people being drawn to each other, rather than certain types of writers, if that makes sense.

Carrie-Anne said...

I wouldn't say having a tumultuous life makes one a better writer, but it certainly can give rise to more story and character inspirations. Becoming a better writer is a long, slow, lifelong process, accomplished by writing consistently and learning how to always get better.

Helena said...

I once read that P.G. Wodehouse should have had a lot of emotional baggage because of a tough childhood, yet he ended up as a genuinely cheerful guy who wrote dozens of successful books.

But then there are writers like Eugene O'Neill who went through hell with his family and used the pain to write Long Day's Journey into Night. So for emotional depth and insight into the darkest corners of the human condition, maybe such emotional turmoil is necessary.

Me, I'm just messed up. And you, Alex--I'm so glad a good, generous guy like you has had (and will continue to have) a good life.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Tyrean, good to know normal and boring people can be saved as well? And you got three right.

Patricia, always the odd one out...

Thanks, Stephanie. Perhaps that came from losing my grandfather.

Roland, yes she did - she was very funny.

Thanks, Michael - appreciate that.

Shannon, it does make sense.

Thanks, Helena.

The Cynical Sailor said...

So interesting to read the comments and the different views people have about whether you have had to go through trying times to be a good writer. I've had challenges in my life, but all pretty run of the mill. I don't think they've played a role in shaping my writing, but it's probably something I should reflect on a bit more. Cheers - Ellen

Dean K Miller said...

The Anthology sounds great.
Love the tag line for Swept Away by Elizabeth Seckman. That is really strong and engaging.

Thanks for the shout out on my Haiku book!

Going through "crap" takes ourselves to a place where we can uncover emotions, raw or otherwise, which can help the writing process. Necessary? Not for me. Helpful? Certainly, if I am willing to do the work to grow from that place.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I don't think our suffering or lack thereof has anything to do with writing, Alex. Life experience, empathy, and our powers of observation (seeing the suffering of others) do make our stories richer though.

Michelle Wallace said...

Lots of interesting releases!
So generous of Yvonne to gift you a signed copy of her book.
I'm not sure that a person who's been through loads of bad stuff will become a better writer.
What about the point that practise makes perfect? That plays a huge role.

Sandra Cox said...

Congrats to all the wonderful authors with new releases.

Happy Tuesday, Alex.

Hart Johnson said...

I think MANY people go through crap, but writers more eloquently share it--it is cathartic to write it out, and it helps us see the power of words connecting to emotion. I do think it improves us, but I don't know that it's necessary. I think empathy for somebody else going through hard times can be just as powerful. And a person can imagine a situation and have empathy for that. I think a person without actual empathy is going to write two-dimensional stuff, though there are some procedural and thriller precedents that are all plot, no emotion. Distant PoV as if just watching it all.

Ann Bennett said...

Experience does give a depth of understanding. But to totally walk in another persons shoes is not possible. I think empathy and observation trumps experience. Every person's version of experience may or may not be an accurate observation. I don't know why we assume having good judgement does not have it's merits. Now depression, I have no opinion. Luckily, I have don't suffer from it. I cannot imagine having it and glad I don't.
I have not lead a difficult life in having problems. I have had to do a lot of care giving. But that is more an onerous job than a life problem such as addiction.
Good to know about the movie. I like comedies but not just silly stuff. I had seen the adverts. I'll wait till it comes on satellite.
Take care.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Plenty of people go through bad things in life yet aren't good writers. I think it's more of a sensitivity to the world around us, the ability to observe and express ourselves more than a personal relationship with misery. Nice Guys sounds like a departure in his typical roles for Russell Crowe. It's definitely not going to be one I'll see! Porn industry? No, thanks.

Crystal Collier said...

I think being a man and thus less hormonal helps. =) The key to good writing in my opinion is feeling something--feeling it so deeply it burst out of you in inspired waves. Some people need real life experience to make that happen. Some have an innate sense of others and thus are more in-tune. *shrugs* Everyone has a different path. Who are we to say there's one way to be?

HUGE congrats to everyone on their releases! That's an all-star list this week.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Dean, you're welcome.

Michelle, true!

Hart, good point about someone with no empathy.

Ann, I've never really has issues with depression either.

Karen, fortunately teh porn industry isn't the main part of the story.

Crystal, definitely less hormonal!

Annalisa Crawford said...

I saw an interview with Crowe and Gosling the other day - it looked good, and they were great in interview. But it might be one that I wait to see on DVD.

I'm reading Swept Away at the moment, and it's really good. I struggled to put it down to sleep last night.

No, you don't need to be damaged to be a good writer - you need good empathy, in my opinion.

Sandra Cox said...

I wish I was a tad bit more even keeled:)
Have a great Wednesday, Alex.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if having bad life experiences is necessary to become a writer, but it does help. This quote sums things up nicely:

'Those of us who had a perfectly happy childhood should be able to sue for deprivation of literary royalties.'
Chris Patten

Gail said...

Hope your weekend is wonderful.

Unknown said...

I understand where you're coming from. I never had any kind of dark times. I find a lot of creative types suffer from depression, drug addiction, etc. I've faced tough times with my dad's cancers, and scary monetary issues, but I don't think it's affected my writing in any way.I've never tapped into those experiences (not yet anyway!)

DMS said...

I haven't seen Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and I hadn't heard of The Nice Guys. It definitely sounds quirky!

Hope you have a nice time on Memorial Day weekend. Enjoy your time away! :)

Karen Peterson said...

Thank you for your warning about how the humor plays in The Nice Guys. It looks hilarious and I want to see it (and probably still will) but I like to be prepared. It's good to know it's not exactly how they present it.

Toi Thomas said...

I will probably catch The Nice Guys on streaming later (I saw Kiss Kiss Bang Bang on DVD).
I think I got all the trivia except the first one.
I think going through stuff makes us who we are. Some people have been through so much that it inhibits their writing or at least limits it. I think the situation is different for everyone.

Leovi said...

I do not believe the bad life experiences make you a better writer. A good writer besides creativity must be a great observer with a good dose of empathy.

mail4rosey said...

I know lots of writers who are normal. :) The others just make for a good story so you hear about them more. ;)

Anonymous said...

I have Elizabeth's book. I'd like to get to it soon. I enjoy buddy films.

Elizabeth said...

My salvation story is similar. I was just a kid and did not go down the "wrong path" before finding God. I think that those of us that weren't saved from the depths of drugs/addiction/etc. tend to be overlooked, when really our testimony and decision to follow Jesus is just as valid. With writing, I think we can pull from personal experiences, both good and bad, and it also has a lot to do with imagination. I enjoyed writing when I was 12 and naïve of the troubles of the world.

My trivia guesses: 2- Men in Black, 4- Emperor's New Groove :), 6- Rush Hour, 7- Shrek, and the others I don't know.

Patsy said...

Stories need conflict, right? If we've experienced some ourselves, then we're in a better position to write about it.

How's that for positive thinking?

Catherine Stine said...

Oh, who knows? I don't think trauma and disaster is a prerequisite to becoming an amazing writer. Nabokov, for instance, came from a very nice, in fact, wealthy family, who had a gorgeous house (I saw it) in Moscow.
That said, I think coming to the writer's table with some life experience in hand is a good thing. There's no way I could've written a cohesive novel when I was twenty. I was too all over the place. The work also takes a huge amount of perception, heart and descriptive ability, which doesn't necessarily have a connection to personal tragedy or pain.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sandra, my wife says sometimes I'm too much so.

Kim, that's awesome!

Beth, you're not alone...

Karen, it is funny, just not a lot of laugh out loud stuff.

Rosey, that must be it.

Elizabeth, we do get overlooked. And you got four right.

Catherine, and that might be more close to the truth - just life experiences in general.

Lynda Dietz said...

I think it's neat that you mentioned your salvation story in conjunction with having traumatic experiences & writing. At work this week, our staff devotions were focused on the power of a simple testimony like Billy Graham's v. a more complex one like Brian "Head" Welch's. Each are equally valid and each can yield a lot of fruit with a variety of audiences. I think it's the same with writers . . . some draw upon the experiences to write with a certain depth of perception or passion, and others are able to create that passion without needing to have walked through fire to get there.

Sandra Cox said...

And a good Thursday to you, Alex!

klahanie said...

Hi human, Alex,

Good question, my esteemed human friend. I certainly know that in my human Gary's case, going through the crap was actually a catalyst to get him back to writing. After being severely bullied in a going nowhere job, my human left that job and his passion for writing was rekindled.

Although, in your case, a relatively stress-free life has not diminished your creative writing ability.

Thanks for all the links which have been duly noted.

Ah yes, looking forward to June 1 and IWSG aka "I Was Seeking Gary." Yes, keep humouring my delusional human.

Take it easy, human!

Pawsitive wishes,


Leovi said...

Good Movie Review forThe Nice Guys, I like quirky movies!

Kelly Polark said...

Thankfully I had a great childhood so hopefully you don't need awful times to be a good writer! We've all had some obstacles but I think you can go through and feel things through books, too! So reading makes you a better writer!

Deniz Bevan said...

Maybe it's also that writers tend to share their experiences more... I've had a couple of major things happen but beyond that... I think it's also that those with a writing urge tend to take every incident, no matter how small, and pay attention to the emotions involved. Everything is fodder for a story!
Funny, I always thought my testimony would be like that too. I never had a Surprised by Joy moment like C. S. Lewis. It was just a gradual and very welcome awakening.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you don't really need to actually go through it? Maybe you just need to have a deep sense of empathy for those who have gone through it? I've gone through all of it though and I do use it - death, drug use, illness, addiction, blah, blah, blah to write...but I don't experience the emotional highs and lows so there's that hehehe

Al Penwasser said...

I'd like to see "The Nice Guys," if only for the music. Then again, I could achieve the same result by going to "Best of the 70s" on iHeart Radio.

Unknown said...

I'm like you, Alex. I've had a really good, boring life. I don't know about you, but I get a lot of my inspiration vicariously. I was a psych nurse and now I work at a jail. I didn't realize how much that experience impacted my writing until I stopped working for two years and hung out with people just like me. And then I started writing about people just like me. And like I said in the beginning, my life is pretty boring. So my answer is no, you don't have to have had trauma in your life to write vividly.

Unknown said...

I only watched on movie about the porn industry I liked. "Boogie Nights" with Mark Wahlberg.

Congrats on the upcoming anthology with your short story in it!

Congrats to Rebecca, Sandra, Pat, Elizabeth, and Dean on their new releases!

I don't think the quality of a writer's past life is as much help as the quantity. When you're older, you've been through so much that you just have more insight and more to say about life.

Denise Covey said...

Sounds like Nice Guys is a play on words. So many blogger books out! Nice to have a blurb for each. :-)

Sandra Cox said...

I trust you're enjoying the weekend. We've left the light on for ya.

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

I worked hard on this so here you go, and no I didn't google anything:
1--absolutely clueless but pretty sure it isn't "Raging Bull"
3--don't remember the name but it has "Roxanne" in it and is terrific
4--the one with the mullet hairdo. I am losing my memory FASTER than I thought!--wait: "Dirt"!
5--Sly and Kurt were in a film together???
6--..."Rush Hour"?

As for the crap question. Attitude plays a large part in whether or not you FEEL as if you have gone through crap. Having a GOOD early childhood helps, too. Or seeing it that way.
I don't think that you have to have gone through crap to be a good writer. I think being dedicated and curious, intelligent and fascinated with life help a lot. Otherwise, it's just another glass of whine. I have often wanted to discuss this with someone just like you! Thanks!


Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

1--absolutely clueless but pretty sure it isn't "Raging Bull"
3--don't remember the name but it has "Roxanne" in it and is terrific
4--the one with the mullet hairdo. I am losing my memory FASTER than I thought!--wait: "Dirt"!
5--Sly and Kurt were in a film together???
6--..."Rush Hour"?

and noooooo, whining through your crappy book (not you!!!--others) doesn't make you a good writer. I never have written about the bad things. I choose not to. What is the point unless there IS a point? Thanks for the thought!


Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

OK, I get it. you are approving comments. does that permit those of your friends who are total bimbos? ha!

Blue Grumpster said...

Well, let's see...
1 – Robert De Niro, Charles Grodin 1988 NO IDEA
2 – Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith 1997 MEN IN BLACK
3 – Nick Nolte, Eddie Murphy, 1982 48 HOURS
4 – David Spade, John Goodman 2000 UM....
5 – Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell 1989 THE ONE WITH THE PRISON...
6 – Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker 1998 RUSH HOUR
7 – Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy 2001 UM...

I tried and failed miserable.

The Happy Whisk said...

No, I don't think one needs to go through crap to write or even be a writer, I forget the percise question now, but my answer is no. That being said, many of good songs have been written from those in pain.

Haven't seen The Nice Guys.

PS: Thanks for the bday wishes. Tim is playing with his new iPod touch 6gen. He has a flip phone for work (and as of now, doesn't want more than that), but he needed to upgrade his iPod so we went with the touch 6. Really, a lot of fun.

Happy New Week, Alex. Here's to lots of yummy meals, good laughs and clean living. Cheers.

Heather R. Holden said...

How exciting about the anthology coming out in June!

As for being a good writer, I don't think trauma, depression, etc. is a perquisite for that. While I like to inject my struggles into my own characters, those same struggles can creep up on me without notice and make it difficult to be creative in any way. So, while certain experiences can help shape stories others wouldn't think to write, they can just as easily prevent those stories from happening, too. (That's how it is for me, at the very least!) Plus, execution is key. Just because one knows what it's like to go through something horrible doesn't mean they have the skills to bring it to life on paper...

Mason T. Matchak said...

I don't know if there's any one thing that's "normal" for a writer, aside from writing itself. But you're right in that a lot of us have been through more than our fair share of issues. Does it make people better writers to go through hardships? Maybe. I think it's a matter of having more experiences and thus more to put into the writing. But those experiences don't have to be negative ones. I don't think there's a real answer for this. *shrug*

Rhonda Albom said...

(Better late than never). Haven't seen Nice Guys and now I probably wont. I did know about half the trivia (for a change), and as for going through stuff - I think you answered your own question. You are quite a good writer, so the answer is NO. It just makes you a different writer. Hope you are enjoying the weekend.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Alex, I have actually thought about the same thing. Do you need terrible trauma to become a great writer or a great painter? I don't think I want to find out. Thanks for another great blog.
Mary Montague Sikes
Notes Along the Way
The Artful Way

A Cuban In London said...

I've heard a lot of the Nice Guys and most reviews point at a good movie.

Greetings from London.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Lynda, very good point.

Penny, just keep telling him that's what it means...

Deniz, that's awesome to hear. Gradual awakening is just as good.

Al, yes you could.

Melanie, I wouldn't want that kind of trauma!

Lexa, perhaps!

Thanks, Sandra! Enjoyed my time away.

Jean, you got three right. I don't want to write about a lot of bad things. I write to escape. And sorry, comment approval is set to start after five days.

Blue, you got three though.

Ivy, cool gift. I still have my first generation iTouch...

Heather, very true!

Rhonda, I'll take different.

Ann Carbine Best said...

Gosh, I sometimes wish I'd had a trauma-free life. But we are what we are from our experiences, and write as our passsions dictate. Thank goodness for those who can write about other things besides disaster. If no, we wouldn't have your wonderful novels. And I can think of those who can write marvelous humor. And we can all develop a positive attitude as our friend Hilary Melton-Butcher has. I do think, though, that all who aspire to be a good writer do have to go through SOME "stuff." Thanks for your thought-provoking questions on the subject.

Tamara Narayan said...

On the movie trivia, I know I've seen most of those films, but the only title my brain is willing retrieve right now is Men in Black.

Trauma for good story telling? That's a darn good question, but I need more data! I wonder if it's more about who can harness the power of their imagination best as in thinking up wonderful characters and stories and then translating them into readable work. People who are going through a terrible time might use their imagination as an escape and therefor hone this skill into good writing. But that doesn't mean that folks living the good life can't also have grand imaginations.

EEGiorgi said...

Alex, you are a positive and optimistic person and that makes you very special. Yes, there are people out there who go through a lot of crap, but for the vast majority of us, it is a matter of perspective: is the glass half empty or is it half full? Most of the crap people complain about is really looking at the half empty glass, and if people changed their attitude and saw that the other half of the glass is actually full life for them and the people around them would be a lot better. Just my two cents, and forgive me for going off a tangent a bit. Hope you had a wonderful memorial day week-end!

Sandra Cox said...

See ya tomorrow:)

Carrie Butler said...

I don't think you have to go through crap to be a good writer. I do, however, think many of us are wired in a way that links our emotions with our creative outlets. Maybe yours don't pour out when you write, but I'd be willing to bet those feelings translate to your music. Something to consider! :)

Empty Nest Insider said...

It's disappointing that Nice Guys wasn't better. I loved Midnight Run with De Niro and Grodin. I remember that I gave birth to our older son the day after we saw the movie. I wasn't feeling that great the night before, but the combination of laughter and popcorn was the best medicine!


Nicki Elson said...

I've always heard that the most successful creatives are the one who've dealt with the heaviest real life crap. I don't know, maybe tragedy reaches deep, deep down inside and unlocks something that stays locked for those of us who've had it relatively cushy. To tell the truth, I'd rather not find out.

I think the only movie that's going to get me into theaters this summer is the Cinema Classics showing of Raiders of the Lost Arc. I'm so excited! Totally bummed I spaced & missed Pretty in Pink, though. :(

P.S. Thanks for supporting my Thunderclap. :D

Ann ODyne said...

Hi AJ - I followed you home from NoPlaceForSheep blog. re this new film, I suppose young audiences need fresh stuff, but I was inspired to say there is no point in any new buddy movie that cannot top Midnight Run, and found 4 earlier commenters loved it too.
Charles Grodin is top value anywhere and I hate that being in Australia, a Grodin talk-show sighting is rare. There was no point in remaking his Heartbreak Kid either.

re 'insecure writers' - the Secure Writers Group could have meetings in a phonebooth [goes off wondering if there are still phonebooths anywhere].

Jennifer Lane said...

I really enjoyed The Nice Guys but it features two of my favorite actors, so maybe that's why. Or maybe I was in the mood for quirky.

In psychology we think of big traumas and little traumas. Big Ts like abuse, sudden death, or natural disasters don't happen to all of us, but we all probably experience little ts like parents divorcing or thwarted dreams. I don't think you need big Ts to be a great writer. It probably helps your concentration and follow through NOT to have suffered a big T! But the capacity to feel deep emotion and understand the reader's perspective is important, in my opinion.

Leovi said...

Yes, undoubtedly empathy is very important for all writers of all the literary genres

Julie Dao said...

I really don't think you need to undergo trauma in order to be a good writer. As long as you have a great imagination - and as long as you expand on experiences you've never had by reading widely - I think you're fine! I've been fortunate enough to have a pretty happy, uneventful life myself!