Today I thought I would touch on a saying that I think has some merit but for the most part is somewhat useless.
WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW…
Why is it useless you may ask?
I have never seen or been able to perform acts of real magic, should that preclude me from writing about magic… NO. Just because I haven’t seen an alien or a ship that can travel through space and time, does this mean I shouldn’t even dare to write anything that could pertain to it… again NO. Have I seen other countries, ancient architecture, ruins, and a land where supposed enemies live at peace… actually I have for all of those, but still.
If we stuck to the confines of only writing what we know or have experienced that would mean we would never have the Lord of the Rings, Dune, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, or anything fantasy and sci-fi.
Our most beloved books are the stuff of dreams, where the laws of reality and the universe holds no sway.
Am I saying that you should just write anything that comes to mind even if you have no knowledge of the subject, absolutely not.
Like with many of the rules that pertain to writing sometimes you need to consider them as more of guidelines than anything else. Write what you know falls into a guideline category. What I believe it means is you should have some knowledge pertaining to that subject that you are writing about, but you don’t need to know everything.
That’s a great segue into talking about some of my hobbies and interests.
I have always been a fan of the middle ages and the renaissance. I think that’s where my love for fantasy stems from. I love the clothing, the armor, and most of all the arms.
I have always had a passion and a thirst for knowledge when it comes to trades such as blacksmithing, carpentry, general leather working and most of the other trades that required skill, creativity, and working with your hands.
Don’t get me wrong, I love technology; to some extent anyways.
What I’ve found is that the driving force to my passions is creativity. That’s the reason I identify with the so called maker movement. It’s a culture that in it’s broadest sense is about making something.
This is part of the reason why I love cosplay and prop making. It’s a way of creating something that you can wear and showcase that is a work of art essentially.
Who wouldn’t want their man cave, woman cave, or whatever you want to call it filled with suits of armor, weapons and shields adorning the walls, and a functioning TARDIS console in the corner?
That’s what I thought.
In general I think creating something cool, something possibly functional, and doing it from nothing but base materials or even junk can give you such a feeling of pride and accomplishment that nothing can really top it.
Now, how does me sharing all this stuff with you relate to writing about what you know?
Well, first of all it opens me up to writing future blog posts on my hobbies and passions.
I’ve done a fair bit of research on the trades and crafts that will become a big part of my book. Learning about arms and armor and how things were made in those time periods can give you a real insight into what it takes to make that magical sword in your book. By learning you can bring the process of forging that master weapon to life and really draw the reader into the story.
If you do some research on theoretical space travel, theoretical technology, or even technology that we currently have, it gives you a better understanding of how stuff works.
From there you can modify and adapt what you’ve learned to write in a way that allows the reader to be immersed into your world, a world filled with advanced technology and science, and they will never question what you’ve created.
You’ll know your creation to a point where everything flows together seamlessly.
So, if you take nothing else away from this post other than to spend a little time learning about the different things that influence your story, I’m okay with that.
Have fun, learn much, and write boldly!