Five Tips for Using What You Know to Write Fiction

A Guest Post
by Steve George

It’s an old saw for new authors: Write what you know. The advice explains why so many memoirs and how-to books are being published these days, but it’s small comfort for the beginning novelist whose life experiences don’t include travel to exotic locations, knowledge of police procedures, or service in the CIA.

Like many aspiring authors, I tried writing a novel—in my case, a political thriller—without a clue about the subject. About halfway through, my ignorance caught up with me. I never finished it. I had always heard the mantra, “Write what you know,” but I couldn’t imagine how what I knew would interest anybody. One day, when I was looking out my home office window, I thought, “What if my main character works at home? And what if he’s a do-it-yourselfer? And what if he likes to help his neighbors with their home projects and that gets him into trouble somehow?” I could write a story about that. Continue reading “Five Tips for Using What You Know to Write Fiction”

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