"Don't write what you know. Write what
you love. That's what will keep you writing."
- C.C. Humphreys
… I posted the quote above on Nov 17 in a Facebook group – particularly on writing on what YOU LOVE, not KNOW.
That is a good way for anybody to start the much-planned, much-talked about, much-delayed book s/he has in mind.
However, to take it up to the next level, the writer must also include elements of what s/he KNOWS.
Bestselling authors who teach others to write non-fiction and fiction urge writers to be real – to sound authentic.
You can do that plotting your story about an environment and events you are sure about, things you KNOW.
If you are a teacher, mix some stuff about teaching in the plots, if you are a nurse or doctor, include things about your working environment, the patients, sounds, procedures, etc.
Alternatively, you can research on a theme you are writing on.
And then, there is the option of getting there, in the environment you are writing about, and get involved in tasks that you are going to describe in your plots.
I am thinking of David Morrell, whenever I think of this point.
Morrell is the creator of John Rambo, the character in First Blood, the book. (The movie, starring Sylvester Stallone, was adapted from Morrell’s book.)
Morrell was a professor of literature at the University of Iowa when he wrote First Blood in 1972.
He has never had any war experience and never went to Vietnam. All he had were stories from Vietnam veterans that he taught in his classes.
Later on, when he went into full-time writing, he would often involve himself in tasks/events/experiences that he wanted in his plots – those included high-speed car chases, shooting rounds from different guns in a shooting range, flying in helicopters, etc.
For us, if you want to describe a boy on a canoe, why don’t you go to a village and get onto a canoe with a boy paddling the canoe?
If you want to describe a musician creating music, why don’t you ask your cousin, the guitarist, and play for you for 20 minutes – or better yet, why don’t you pick up the guitar and start creating something?