Drawing On Your Own Experiences

One of the first rules a would-be writer learns is to 'write about what you know'. If, however, this rule is taken too literally, few writers would ever gain the requisite knowledge to write an historical romance, murder mystery or science fiction novel.

Far more practical is the advice from bestselling author Martina Cole to 'Write about what you know and if you don't know - find out'.

You don't need to have lived in a previous century, be a murderer or travel in space to write genre fiction. Thorough research into the background against which your story is set should provide you with the factual information you require.

Expert knowledge is invaluable, of course. Years spent in industry or in the legal, nursing or teaching profession; seeing active service in the armed forces; bringing up a family on a low fixed income; working long shifts on a factory assembly line; running and perhaps losing your own business - any one of these and similar experiences offers a wealth of information on which you can draw, but factual accuracy is only one aspect of writing. You also have to find a way to breathe life into the characters featured in your articles and stories and this comes from your experience of personal relationships, both good and bad.

From our earliest memories of childhood through our schooldays to adult friendships, romantic attachments, experiences at work and in our domestic lives, everything that went into forming our character has a part to play in our writing.

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