Write what you know . . .

04 May

I think one of the most common bits of advice that a writer receives is: write what you know.

I’m a literal person. In more than one sense. I write paranormal. And I’ve often thought of that tip. I, personally, don’t know any vampires. Or werewolves. Or witches for that matter. But I do write about them.

Then I think of all those authors who write about murderers, or violent deaths. How many of them actually know a serial killer? Not many I bet.

I think that writers are told that to make writing easier. And believable. A blank page can be one of the most intimidating things. If you start writing about things that you know, you already have a base of knowledge to start with.

However, I believe that little gem should be lengthened to say: write what you know, enjoy or are passionate about.

I may not actually know any demons, but I certainly do enjoy writing about them. I research them, drawing from myths and old manuscripts that portray them. And I make up backgrounds and realms about them. I write fiction. I can do that. And I don’t have to have personal knowledge of them.

What I do need are believable characters, an interesting plot and a story that will draw a reader in and make them cheer for the people – or creatures – in my book. If I am passionate about my characters then – hopefully – that passion will come across in my writing. And my story will be all that much the better for it.


Posted by on May 4, 2011 in Idaho


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9 responses to “Write what you know . . .

  1. liz fredericks

    May 4, 2011 at 6:19 AM

    Very astute, Meredith! I especially like your observation that writing fiction means writing of what is beyond normal. I suspect it’s your ability to see beyond the surface of normal that makes your characters so powerful.

  2. Carley Ash

    May 4, 2011 at 6:40 AM

    Nice post Meredith. One of the great things about writing and reading is the opportunity to learn something new, be drawn into a world of which I’m not familiar.

  3. Meredith Conner

    May 4, 2011 at 8:44 AM

    Thanks Liz and Carly – I think that is the wonderful thing about writing, you can expand upon things that do exist or go into a different direction completely. Either way I always learn something new when I read a good book.

  4. Janis McCurry

    May 4, 2011 at 9:33 AM


    I love your addition to “write what you know” and it makes perfect sense. If you’re passionate about a subject, you DO take time to learn about it and thus, are capable of writing about it.


  5. Clarissa Southwick

    May 4, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    Great interpretation, Meredith. It’s so much easy to write when the story comes from within.

  6. lynn mapp

    May 4, 2011 at 8:05 PM

    This is one of those things they tell us. You are right. We have to take all of the information we’ve been given and twist it so it fits our needs.

  7. Mary Vine

    May 4, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    Good point about writing what we don’t know about, like serial killers.

  8. Kim

    May 5, 2011 at 3:16 AM

    It’s true, they’re even theaching that to kids when they begin writing…but it is harder for younger ones to write fiction, so I guess it’s a good place to start. And how to you explain passion to children? Mine think passion = volume, thanks to their “passionate” father.
    I like your style, Mere, keep it up! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Johanna Harness

    May 5, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    Yes! Write your passion and your heart. ๐Ÿ™‚


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