Daily Archives: August 15, 2020

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Write What You Know? Yes & No

August 15, 2020 by in category Writing

Recently someone posed this question: is ‘write what you know’ still the best advice?

My answer is yes and no.

 YES!  Your life is full of emotions: joy, heartbreak, success, and failure. Just by living you have built a warehouse of emotional resources that you will gift to your characters. Even if you were a Disney princess you would have had to deal with the terror of wicked witches, the joy of true love, the hardship of living with five messy dwarfs or two evil stepsisters. That means you, as a writer, can draw on your emotional experience to give our characters depth and realism that will stay with them long after they close our books.

NO! Don’t limit your stories to what you know. If you’re anything like me daily life is pretty normal —dare I say boring? A writer’s job is to take something we recognize and turn it into something we don’t. A chance meeting becomes an epic romance, walking the dog and seeing a shooting star becomes a Sci Fi novel. Your imaginations should not be limited by the familiar. I write legal and police thrillers. I am not a cop or a lawyer, but I am is curious. I have a sincere fascination with the world of law enforcement. In order to write effectively about something I don’t know I research, I take classes, I talk to people in the profession. I will never be a cop or a lawyer, but I can write about their challenges because I take the time to learn about them. My love of the profession, translates into a love of the genre in which I write.

 Marry what you do know with what you don’t, and you will create an exciting, genuine work of fiction that will leave your readers wanting more.

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