“Write what you know.” “Write what you read.” I bet there is not a person reading this who hasn’t heard those words. I’m here to tell you, you know more than you know you know.
If you read romance, it has created a comfortable little nook in your mind where you can go to escape. You know where everything is located in your cubbyhole and can pull out whatever you need. It is your place and you know it well.
If you read science fiction, you know what a believable alternative world is. You read it – you know it.
I read fantasy almost to the exclusion of everything else. Therefore, I must write fantasy. When I started writing, I knew I was a fantasy writer. What else could I be?
Along the way, something went wrong. Three and a half years into my writing “career”, I don’t have a single completed work of fantasy. (To be fair, the fantasy story I am “working” on is a novel. I have six “scenes” written, but that is as far as I have gotten.) I have written romantic-adventure. A shape shifter story. A serial killer story. I have a Zombie, two life transition/redemption stories and a science fiction story. I have written a non-fiction piece about my tour on a submarine. I have a gangster story. Most shocking, I have written three poems. (I have no idea where they came from.)
It is easy to see that some of the above are loosely related to fantasy. But, what about the others?
It turns out, I know more than I knew I knew.
I have been receiving Newsweek and US News and World Report for years. I receive two computer magazines. I have been reading non-fiction that includes tight, concise writing.
The others, (the gangster, romantic-adventure, serial killer, and the redemption stories) come from TV and MOVIES. I firmly believe that if you watch it, you know it.
You know what makes you laugh – you’ve had to choose between Frasier and Tool Time. How many SVU’s have you seen – hundreds?
You say you don’t watch romantic adventure. Didn’t you love Mr. and Mrs. Smith or the Star Wars series?
I do NOT read romance. I loved The Notebook movie.
The point is, when it comes to your writing, you know more than you knew you knew. Use it to write anything you want.