I would like to make it very clear that I'm very young (just graduated to a teen) and only an amateur writer. I have recently become seriously involved in writing in preparation for my IGCSE English Language exam. Part of the exam is to be able to whip up a sufficiently creative and unique piece (on a given topic/title) in under a hour. They are not grading us as teens; they are looking for actual writing quality at a level akin to that of a professional writer.
What I'm just doing is practicing writing short stories on many different topics and themes. This way I keep my creative writing skills fresh and in good use. Also, I get to experiment with a variety of ideas/themes, effectively preparing me for tackling whatever topic the exam board might throw.
Now the examiners are looking for something fresh and mature—pieces that deal with inherently deep issues (the likes of slavery and gender inequality) in a similarly sophisticated manner. But when it comes to sensitive topics like drug addiction or prostitution, how do I write about the theme convincingly and accurately enough without coming across as the naive kid that I am?
These are things which I don't have personal experience in and cannot connect with on an intimate level, and I'm afraid no amount of literary techniques or inspired writing can mask that. Yes, I could read up on writings by people who do have that experience, but I don't believe it would help make my writing any more genuine. It simply won't be the same as writing from personal experience.
Take the theme of a teen high on drugs for example. While I do have somewhat of an idea on the effects of drugs and how they could make you feel, I do not have any real experience with anything of that sort.
Any attempts at coming up with anything decent about drug use have resulted in something like this:
I sighed when I plunged the syringe in. Bliss and bliss. And yet more bliss as the honey liquid trickled into me. I sighed once more as I let my arms ease onto the steel-cold handles. A warm, fuzzy feeling enveloped my insides.
And then it hit me, an urge that refused to let me off its crazed hold. I needed to spin, spin, and spin. My skin was prickled all over with lust as I gripped the handles and positioned my feet. So I did. I spinned around in the chair.
Once. Twice. Thrice until I lost count. It was all a blur. The whole of my office: socks all over the desk, the battered laptop on the couch, soggy chips strewn all over the rug.
My eyes fell on the curtains. A deep, clear blue against the deep, clear black of the starry sky beyond. Even the dull grey couch had worked up a texture.
It was all so much more warm and wonderful this way. So I thought, jumping down from the chair which had been quite entertaining. I dropped with a thump onto the woolly, scruffy rug, the impact crushing quite a few of the chips that had been lying about.
And that is ridiculous prose.