Stick With What You Know?

As a new author, should you stick to what you know? 

rp_Jornal-300x1801.jpgSo you want to write a book? You have an idea, so now what? I have read so many fantastic books through my life so far. I have read romance, mystery, crime and historical novels and the one thing they have in common is that the author makes the act of writing a book look so easy… of course, it isn’t. It can be rewarding and fun but can be frustrating; sometimes banging your head against a brick wall seems more productive than trying to complete the word count you’re trying to write. 

Writing what you know may in many ways make it easier, right? Does it though? Yes, I think in some ways it can. Having previous knowledge of something adds depth to a plot or character.

A piece of advice I have heard a few times as I start out is “write what you know.” BUT, I think this needs to be heeded with caution. A debut crime novel from a new writer doesn’t mean that they have experienced the crimes held within first hand. There is no way you could know about a historical novel unless you research events – well, unless you have a time machine. I say if writing what you know suits your idea, then that is great but it shouldn’t mean you miss the opportunity to write about a new subject that interests you. 

What are your thoughts? Are you a first time author? How are you approaching your novel – are you writing about what you know? Are you a more experienced author? What do you think? 

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I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

One Response to Stick With What You Know?

  • I think it very much depends on what you want to write about. If you’re looking to write historical, crime or thriller novels then there has got to be a degree of research before you start, you can’t just invent it. My first novels were very much an example of ‘write what you know’. I’d grown up in a village and in a provincial town so the backdrops were easy to write and set my characters in. I also knew about farming communities and businesses within those kind of towns, so taking something of the truth and weaving it around fiction made things much easier. I think as you write you develop and within that development perhaps grow a little bolder with your work. In my latest soon to be published novel The Other Side of Morning, part of the action takes place in Verona. I’d visited the city many years ago but it was only a distant memory accompanied by a few holiday shots. Hooray for Google Earth! I could home in on the city and wander the streets, setting my action in places I could describe. The opening chapters of the novel are also set abroad, in Bali, a place I have never visited, but again the internet proved absolutely invaluable. I discovered a luxury resort there with a very comprehensive brochure and using that was able to set the scene. So for me it’s a balance: writing about what I know and using internet information to assist.

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