|Photo credit: Chiot's Run on Flickr|
The debate, I believe, depends largely on how you interpret those four words.
Taken literally, the “write what you know” adage could be seen as automatically disqualifying any novel with fantasy, supernatural or science-fiction elements. We obviously can’t write about magic, supernatural abilities and paranormal creatures from experience, and thus, can’t necessarily write what we know.
But when applied to our characters experiences and surroundings, the “write what you know” adage couldn’t be more relevant.
You see, the key to making our readers experience what our characters are going through is to weave truths into the writing. When your protagonist is walking through a rainstorm in November, don’t just mention the rain—think back to the last time you were outside in a storm and describe how it felt. When your character is guilt-ridden over something he just did, don’t say he feels guilty—describe the heat flashes and nausea and fear that comes with every bout of guilt.
Writing what you know doesn’t mean that if you’re a single mother from Montana, you can only write about single mothers who live in Montana. Writing what you know doesn’t mean you have to move to Thailand to write a story set in the Far East.
The true meaning of write what you know is to draw from everyday life. It means you need to pay attention to the world and even the most simple of everyday occurrences, because you never know when you’ll need to relive a moment of your life in order to realistically write a similar experience for your book.
How do you interpret the "write what you know" adage? Do you utilize it in your writing?