Write what you want to know…

snowflakeYep, I’ve said it before, but if I followed the old advice “write what you know” I’d produce some pretty snoozeworthy books. I mean to say, I’m an elementary school teacher who lives in the California suburbs. I drive a mini van. What I know, is not extraordinary by any means. Some authors carve a niche out of writing fiction about which they have a special expertise. Dick Francis, for example, was a steeplechase jockey so his horse related novels make good sense. (Sadly, I know nothing about horses except that Mr. Ed was apparently not a normal equine.)  Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, was a naval intelligence officer. (Yet another thing I know nothing about apart from what I learned watching Hogan’s Heroes). So what’s a writer to do? Explore what you want to know. Find a setting or culture that interests you and learn everything you can about it. That’s how I’ve come to know about the Peten jungle in Guatemala, and the secret life of the bald eagle. Rather than “follow your passions” you could embrace the philosophy of “follow something that might become a passion” and see where it leads. That has worked for me!

Do you like reading novels by people who are experts in their fields? Would love to hear some of your faves. Giving away an Amazon gift card for December.

7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Joye on December 20, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    I love to read whether the writer is an expert in their field or not. I read all kinds of books. Usually the experts are the ones who write the textbook kinds of books.
    I do like to read an author that has done research and can put words together beautifully. Do i know if they are experts? Probably not, but if they have entertained me, hey that’s a good author.

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  2. Posted by JackieW on December 20, 2013 at 3:24 am

    I do like to read author’s who know something about what they are writing about…it makes for more believable stories. Don’t know that I’ve read any books by experts in their fields.

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  3. Hi, Dana. I like your post. If interested in learning more about a new topic, I reach for biographies first. I easily grasp the basics of even unfamiliar subjects if they’re fed to me as fascinating “true fiction” accounts. 🙂 I loved Irving Stone’s “The Agony & The Ecstasy” about Michelangelo, for instance, as a teenager. I also enjoyed Sylvia Nasar’s “A Beautiful Mind” about mathematician John Nash.

    What better way to teach a neophyte about great art or to open a window into the mind of a mathematical genius than to couch his or her tale in a well-written pseudo-biographical novel? Once I’ve read a biography that touches upon the topic of interest, I find it easier to “stomach” less entertaining fare about the subject. Is that cheating? 🙂 Blessings!

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