The phrase write what you know can be damaging to a writer when taken too literally.
If I wrote only what I knew, I would be limited to the quirky adventures of a screenwriter and her friends in Los Angeles. My main character would spend most of her time writing, running, and blogging, with occasional trips up to abandoned ski resorts to film horror movies or battles done with crocodiles in the harbors of Mexico.
In short, the movie that I want to write does not resemble my life.
But that’s not how “writing what you know” is supposed to be interpreted. It means that you’re supposed to use what you do know as a jumping off point to write what you don’t know anything about, thus lending authenticity to your writing.
Here are 5 ways to write what you don’t know, in a way that will ring true with the reader: [Read more…]