Write what you know?
One piece of advice for writers that gets bandied around a lot is ‘write what you know’. And I can understand the thinking behind it. If you write what you know then the work will have an authenticity to it, and hopefully some of your uniqueness. My take is a little different, though. I think you should write about what fascinates you. And bring what you know to that.
This is also my answer to the question: Where do you get your ideas from? For me, stories rarely start in the form of one neat idea. All I have in the beginning is a rag tag collection of things that I’m into at the time, things that I think are meant to be connected together in a story somehow. Sometimes these things are ‘good’ – things I love – but they could equally be ‘bad’ – things that scare me, or upset me, or that I can’t understand.
Sometimes I know them. But sometimes I don’t, and writing becomes my way of attempting to figure them out. Sometimes they’re universal things, easily relatable, but quite often they’re weird, quirky things that probably only interest me. The thing is, though, I don’t think it matters. And I say that as a reader. Because if I’m reading a book where the writer has an obvious passion for their subject, that passion is transferable. I’m more than happy to explore it with them.
Anyway, I thought I’d spend the next few posts going through this in a little more detail, for each of my books. So tomorrow, let’s kick off with Raw Blue.
In the meantime, I’d love to know your views. Do you think knowing your subject matter is crucial? Or is it enough to be curious? Where do your ideas come from?
Happy Friday by the way!