Write What You Know

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After months of using Covid-19 as an excuse to procrastinate, I finally forced myself to sit down and start working on the last book in my Blood Bond Trilogy. Thanks to the previous books, I already have an MC. I know what he looks like, how he dresses, where he works, what he drinks, and who his love interest will be, but…how to start?

Write what you know, right?

I trolled through my memories, more years of memories than I’d like to admit, and came up with a scene, something that happened eons ago. A tourist on my first trip to Ireland, I was checking out a small display case in some church basement and I heard a man talking behind me. His voice, his accent, truly charming. Naturally, I turned around, and the real world being what it is, the man was nowhere near as attractive as his voice.

Perfect. There’s my attention-grabbing first paragraph. Enticing accent, alluring voice—hail the love interest.


I haven’t been to Ireland in decades. I can barely remember the accent now and I have no idea what expressions or slang they’re using in Dublin these days.

Write what you know?

I don’t know how this character speaks. There’s no way I can write dialogue for him, not without spending weeks researching speech patterns in Irish novels.

I’m in awe of authors who can create dialogue for characters of a differing ethnicity, nationality, or time line than their own. I have no idea how they do it. How exactly does a blacksmith in the eighteenth century speak, or an alien in the twenty-fourth?

Back to the drawing board. Ditch the accent and rewrite the first page, so far, the only page.

Write what you know?

What I know is, I never should have started writing this trilogy 🙂

Aimer at Amazon

10 thoughts on “Write What You Know

  1. No! I love this trilogy! I think the whole write what you know idea is a bit of an exaggeration. We can always research and learn new things.

    Looking forward to the next book. I have my pom poms ready so I can cheer you on.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Write what you know” is a commonly offered bit of advice, and I think it’s generally true. On the other hand, another common notion is that good writers should be able to portray people and events outside their experience.

    My poem “How I Came to Live in a Palace” convinced a reader I knew a building I’d never visited. (https://briandeanpowers.wordpress.com/2019/05/01/how-i-came-to-live-in-a-palace/) That experience was the first that suggested I ought to take writing seriously.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember reading that poem, Brian. My take away is near the end “the palace of the imagination.”
      Remember the song that went “What the world needs now is …”?
      I’m thinking, Imagination… Where would we be without it?

      As to the often quoted advice to write what you know, I guess the answer is to let your own experience filter into the worlds you create.


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