Write What You Know – Or Not

I think I’ve gone a long time as a writing blog without having a post on “write what you know.” I had second and third thoughts on whether I should bother. I’m sure there are 4.634 gazillion blog posts on the subject.

The term write what you know is considered a good adage to follow. If you quilt, you can write compelling fiction about a team of quilters. If you like motorcycles but hate quilting, let the first group do the quilt stories.

There are people who rail against this advice. “If we only wrote what we knew, we wouldn’t have any science fiction. Or historicals. Or sparkly vampire love fests.” (Maybe that last one wouldn’t be a bad thing.)

I would say, they’re both right.

I didn’t have to eat durian to describe it
I work in medicine. I spent two months in Thailand. This may have have some influence on my WIP involving a medical student traveling to Thailand. It makes it easier to start there, as I have background in it. When I’ve had critiques, people comment on the sections where I use the tropical location, or have a suspenseful scene with medical overtones. These parts seem to resonate more.
Writing what I know seems to be paying off right now.

The rub is that I don’t know if I can write the same stuff forever. I haven’t been to every country, and I don’t think everything I write will be set among tropical breezes and exotic fruit. Obviously authors write about many things they don’t know firsthand. They do their research, use real world experiences as references, and play off of them to write something new and unique to them.

Brandilyn Collins has an excellent three post series on her old blog where she can take anyone and put them into the mindset of a murderer. If we wrote what we knew, a lot of mystery and suspense writers have some skeletons in their closets. Maybe literally. But Brandilyn’s method helps an author go to a place they would never reach otherwise (we hope).

There you go. I’m officially on the fence. Sometimes you need to write what you know. Other times demand something original, but you can still find analogies in your life to make it pop.

What side of the fence are you on?

Write What You Know – Or Not

I think I’ve gone a long time as a writing blog without having a post on “write what you know.” I had second and third thoughts on whether I should bother. I’m sure there are 4.634 gazillion blog posts on the subject.

The term write what you know is considered a good adage to follow. If you quilt, you can write compelling fiction about a team of quilters. If you like motorcycles but hate quilting, let the first group do the quilt stories.

There are people who rail against this advice. “If we only wrote what we knew, we wouldn’t have any science fiction. Or historicals. Or sparkly vampire love fests.” (Maybe that last one wouldn’t be a bad thing.)

I would say, they’re both right.

I didn’t have to eat durian to describe it
I work in medicine. I spent two months in Thailand. This may have have some influence on my WIP involving a medical student traveling to Thailand. It makes it easier to start there, as I have background in it. When I’ve had critiques, people comment on the sections where I use the tropical location, or have a suspenseful scene with medical overtones. These parts seem to resonate more.
Writing what I know seems to be paying off right now.

The rub is that I don’t know if I can write the same stuff forever. I haven’t been to every country, and I don’t think everything I write will be set among tropical breezes and exotic fruit. Obviously authors write about many things they don’t know firsthand. They do their research, use real world experiences as references, and play off of them to write something new and unique to them.

Brandilyn Collins has an excellent three post series on her old blog where she can take anyone and put them into the mindset of a murderer. If we wrote what we knew, a lot of mystery and suspense writers have some skeletons in their closets. Maybe literally. But Brandilyn’s method helps an author go to a place they would never reach otherwise (we hope).

There you go. I’m officially on the fence. Sometimes you need to write what you know. Other times demand something original, but you can still find analogies in your life to make it pop.

What side of the fence are you on?

2012

An announcement!

I’ve been blogging since 2006. I’ve posted regularly for quite a while, but in the last half of 2011, I started struggling. I didn’t always have inspiration for a post. I questioned whether I should continue with this blog, as I am working on a novel and wondered about splitting my writing time.

Friends encouraged me to continue, and I know that an author needs a presence online to help chances of publication in this brave new world of books and ebooks. Even with this, I limped to the end of the year.

Keepin’ it fresh, yo?
What do I do? How to keep it fresh after 5+ years of blogging?
Good ideas are worth stealing, and I’m going to borrow an idea from my writing and geekery friend Athena Grayson and her blog. She has themed days that keeps her going with a structure and regular posts. That’s what will happen here at Spoiled For The Ordinary.
1. Mission Mondays. I started this blog without much of an idea of a theme. Over time I wanted to bring out ideas and news about missions and being a world Christian. The time I spent in missions led to the title of this blog and a radical change in life for me. Now I will be deliberate with it and highlight different stories related to the mission of God’s Kingdom on Mondays.
2. Writing Wednesdays. The other major focus of this blog is on writing. I talk about my writing journey, Christian fiction issues, and publishing in general. Heaven knows writing blogs are a dime a dozen out there. Still, I’m interested in the process and will continue to add my own 2 cents to the never-ending flow of words – because writers never met a word they didn’t like (maybe “actually” is getting there, but I digress).
3. Free Fridays. Freedom!  I’m not limiting myself here. I can post random stuff. I’m not committing myself. There may or may not be content on Fridays. Because I am giving myself that freedom. Nuff said.
There will be breaks in this. I am a regular contributor to the Christian Sci-Fi and Fantasy tour, which routinely runs Mondays through Wednesdays. This will supercede things when I participate.
I hope this helps me keep motivated and lets readers know what to expect and when to find things. I’m excited for 2012, and I want to continue on this journey with all of you. Yes, you in the back as well. Okay, even you Mark.
Here we go…

2012

An announcement!

I’ve been blogging since 2006. I’ve posted regularly for quite a while, but in the last half of 2011, I started struggling. I didn’t always have inspiration for a post. I questioned whether I should continue with this blog, as I am working on a novel and wondered about splitting my writing time.

Friends encouraged me to continue, and I know that an author needs a presence online to help chances of publication in this brave new world of books and ebooks. Even with this, I limped to the end of the year.

Keepin’ it fresh, yo?
What do I do? How to keep it fresh after 5+ years of blogging?
Good ideas are worth stealing, and I’m going to borrow an idea from my writing and geekery friend Athena Grayson and her blog. She has themed days that keeps her going with a structure and regular posts. That’s what will happen here at Spoiled For The Ordinary.
1. Mission Mondays. I started this blog without much of an idea of a theme. Over time I wanted to bring out ideas and news about missions and being a world Christian. The time I spent in missions led to the title of this blog and a radical change in life for me. Now I will be deliberate with it and highlight different stories related to the mission of God’s Kingdom on Mondays.
2. Writing Wednesdays. The other major focus of this blog is on writing. I talk about my writing journey, Christian fiction issues, and publishing in general. Heaven knows writing blogs are a dime a dozen out there. Still, I’m interested in the process and will continue to add my own 2 cents to the never-ending flow of words – because writers never met a word they didn’t like (maybe “actually” is getting there, but I digress).
3. Free Fridays. Freedom!  I’m not limiting myself here. I can post random stuff. I’m not committing myself. There may or may not be content on Fridays. Because I am giving myself that freedom. Nuff said.
There will be breaks in this. I am a regular contributor to the Christian Sci-Fi and Fantasy tour, which routinely runs Mondays through Wednesdays. This will supercede things when I participate.
I hope this helps me keep motivated and lets readers know what to expect and when to find things. I’m excited for 2012, and I want to continue on this journey with all of you. Yes, you in the back as well. Okay, even you Mark.
Here we go…