Write What You Know, or Going Back to My Backyard

Write What You Know, or Going Back to My Backyard

May 6, 2014

Writers are often advised to “write what you know,” but personally I’ve always resisted. My first book was inspired by a set of medieval tapestries, The Lady and The Unicorn, and when I began to tell this story I knew nothing about the tapestries. The research involved a necessary trip to Paris to study the tapestries hanging in the Cluny Museum, so this might have had some bearing on my propensity for writing what I’d like to know more about, rather than what I already knew. The second story, set in Florence, then the third in Munich, the fourth in Prague (coming from Berkley Books, January, 2015), all dealt with topics where a great deal of research, and travel (of course) were required.


But, then, something unexpected happened. I decided to write a story set in Twin Falls, the small Idaho town where I grew up. I know the place well—I lived there for the first eighteen years of my life and often return to visit family. Much of the action in the story takes place in the alley behind a home very much like the one where I grew up.  


Maybe one of the reasons I’ve never written about my home town is because my memories are good. I had a very agreeable, happy childhood. It’s often said that a writer who comes from a happy childhood will have little to write about. Conflict makes the story.


My story, a novella, entitled EVEL KNIEVEL JUMPS THE SNAKE RIVER CANYON, is set in Twin Falls, Idaho, during the summer of 1974. It’s told from the point of view of a ten-year-old boy. Through his eyes we see what happens in a small, innocent town when Evel Knievel announces he will jump the Snake River Canyon and the citizens of Twin Falls fear what such a spectacle will bring. What follows is . . . well, yes, herein lies the conflict . . .

Reader Comments:

Kelly, what a wonderful gift to all of us who had the very good fortune of growing up in that wonder town. Twin Falls shaped a lot of lived for the good of the whole!
-Peggyn48, May 7, 2014

Kelly, what a wonderful gift to all of us who had the very good fortune of growing up in that wonder town. Twin Falls shaped a lot of lived for the good of the whole!
-Peggyn48, May 7, 2014

Yes, Peggy, I feel very fortunate to have grown up in Twin Falls. Writing this story brought back many happy memories.
Kelly
-Kelly Jones, May 7, 2014

Can't wait. The Knieval media circus remnded me of the cartoons in the History books (I only looked at the pictures) touting PT Barnum.
Can't wait for your ten year olds "eye view" of the Media Circus that invaded Twin Falls. I will have comments after I read the Kelly Jones take on the event.
-Flashback1, May 8, 2014

Flashback--writing this story really was just that. My how life has changed. Still love my TF town!
-Kelly Jones, May 8, 2014

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