For most genres, we’re hoping to draw on something a little more creative than the vast accounting knowledge of our day job or the fact that we can write characters with an authentic southern drawl (or one that sounds like a nordern ya hey from Wisconsin, der, don’t ya know).
I’d like to suggest we look at it from a micro level. What are the moments, the life experiences, the memories, that you KNOW. Those personal emotions and sensations form an even more powerful version of “Write what you know.” They become the tiny details that make or break a scene, that intangible element of believability that makes readers fall in love with a book.
- I know that on quiet days in the woods, you really CAN hear a single mouse scurrying amid the underbrush.
- I know what a tall ship looks like under a coating of frost and snow.
|Voila! Yes, there really IS a ship hiding behind all those trees and snowbanks.|
- I know that your face can literally go numb if you’ve exercised too long without stopping for food. (Oops! Not fun.)
- I know exactly how Christmas Tree Worms dart back inside their coral homes when you wave a hand in front of them.
*Video added so you guys can see how cool these are.
- I know what leaking radiator fluid smells like and what happens when your alternator dies in the middle of driving.
- I know how fast and tight a heart races when you’re in the middle of nowhere and it’s midnight and you can hear some kind of animal crossing the stream in the pitch black a few paces away.
Will I ever use these examples fully? Probably not. But they become pieces of the whole. Memorable pieces.
So, what do YOU know?