Write What You Know

Dear-contributor-3I’m sure you’ve all heard the advice to write what you know.  I would also suggest that you write what you’re passionate about.  You don’t have to be an expert in order to write on a subject.  All you need is a burning desire to know enough about it in order to write a compelling story.

The advice to write what you know was originally given by author Mark Twain.

Surfing the net for other opinions on this advice, I read such things as, “Write what you know. That’s probably the most misleading advice any writer can get. It builds walls in the writer’s mind, imposing artificial limitations.”

Or this advice, “We’ve heard it over and over: write what you know. But we can challenge our imaginations and think differently by writing what we don’t know.”

Every one of my novels has begun with a passionate theme, or group of themes.  It starts with an inspiration.  I don’t clearly recall now what inspired A Siren’s Lament, only that it was an interest in magic.  From there, everything else blossomed.

Magic is a subject I’ve always been passionate about.  But if I thought I had to be an expert on the subject, and that I could only “write what you know,” I would never begin anything.  Yet I knew that all I really needed was to be passionate about it.  My passion would carry me though.

Passion must also alight the fire of imagination and fantasy (tomorrow’s blog topics).

Write what you know.  Sound advice?  Yes or no?  You decide.

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