Saturday, February 13, 2016

Reposted from the YAtopia Blog - WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW

Another repost from last month. Should authors really only write what they know?

Authors are often instructed to "write what you know." Sometimes, this idea seems preposterous. Books about murder, mayhem, and thievery aren't written solely by criminals... or are they?

I decided to consider the books I've written--what did I know and what did I have to research?


Things I knew:

- The real setting

- the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire

- The Chippewa River - cuts right through the campus, where one of the main characters loses his life
- The loneliness of being raised an only child.

The beautiful and dangerous Chippewa River

Things I had to research:

- Witchcraft - although readers have inquired if I'm a witch myself, the truth is that I heavily researched the subject to make the book as "fictionally accurate" as I could

- Drowning statistics

- Smiley Face Murder Theory - research into this topic scared me at times

- Gang Life - research into this topic freaked me out even more


Things I knew:

- Running

- Yoga

- Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology

Things I had to research:

- What would be a logical winning time for a 1/2 marathon in a dystopian future where people were limited to running on treadmills? (The fact that I had to research this number reveals the truth that although I do run a lot, I don't run mega-fast.)


Things I knew:

- The sudden, overwhelming strength of the mother-child protective bond

Things I researched:

- Plant based medicine

The point I'm trying to make is that (most likely) every book involves some research and some inner knowledge. Perhaps the inner knowledge forms the heart of the book, and the research fleshes out the appendages.

I've found that books where I didn't need to research as much (Dead Girl Running) are written that much faster. But I also find research into interesting subjects quite fascinating, so I don't have a favorite method of writing.

I welcome your thoughts on the matter in the comments below.

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