Wednesday, May 26, 2010
WEDNESDAY WRITING: Writing What You Want To Know
I've heard the expression Write What You Know more times than I can count. To an extent, I can understand the reasoning behind it - it's a good launching point for writing, it's an easier path to follow, and it may be more authentic than writing what you don't know.
But, if every author only wrote what they knew, there would be no science fiction, no urban fantasy, no Harry Potter or Twilight or Pet Sematary or Lord of the Rings! Because these plot lines are certainly nothing that the author knew.
I say Write What You Want to Know. Write about a subject you are passionate about, and willing to research extensively. Look at photographs and maps, search the Internet, talk to experts, and read every book you can get your hands on. With the current state of technology, you can pretty much find an expert on any topic, detailed specifics on a hobby or product, images of remote locations, and much much more. If you throw your heart and soul into learning about something, you WILL know it. And you will be able to write about it.
In both of my novels I did a vast amount of research - on Greek mythology, Maine, boating, wiccan rituals, and 1940s Central Park! Because believe me ... if I wrote what I knew, nobody would want to read it. My life is pretty boring and I'm the first to admit it.
Image Credit: SXC