Most books and courses on creative writing will tell you to write about things you know. This same advice is also often given in interviews and in magazine articles and web copy.
The argument that immediately springs to mind against this apparently foolish advice, is I don’t really have very much knowledge about murder.
For that matter only a scant few will really understand true horror experiences and very few writers would know what it really felt like to commit a crime.
And of course if being tasked with writing about what you know. How do you write about fantasy, time travel, space journeys to distant worlds and the undead walking the cities?
But wait a minute. This wasn’t the intended meaning of that little sage piece of advice. It is we, the readers who have misunderstood the true meaning and value of this little gem of wisdom.
The ‘what you know’ was never meant to mean something so literal and pedantic. What you know is really all about the human experience.
Emotions, relationships, beauty, hatred, anger, fear, destruction, betrayal, lust, love, empathy, loneliness, disappointment and……The list is endless…
If we craft our work from the fabric of our inner knowledge, of real life experience, than we offer the reader a wealth of genuine emotions captured for their enjoyment.
We, each one of us, have a huge collection of knowledge and it is unique to our own world experience and interaction with those around us.
If we take the old advice with the knowledge of applying what we know to our imaginary landscapes, we can create credible fictions which will capture the imagination of those who read them.