Writing about what you know?

Posted: July 30, 2009 in Research, Writing

This age-old question is right now at the forefront of my mind. There are those who say an author should write about what they know (wouldn’t that make literature boring?) and those who say the opposite. Certainly, fantasy fiction wouldn’t exist if everyone wrote about what they knew.

I am one for a mix of both: write about what you know if what you know is interesting, and go on wonderful flights of fancy just as well, but most of all, research research research.

I find nothing more grating than badly researched stories, and I cannot suspend disbelief when it becomes too obvious that the facts just aren’t correct.

However, when it comes to emotions, how can we writers get those right? We can’t experience all of the emotions we are writing about, so we have to try and get that far into our characters and their motivations, that we will get it right – the extremes as well as the subtleties.

There is nothing more rewarding than a story where the author got it right and the reader can feel with the characters, isn’t there?


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