Write what you know...
I Write about what I know. Sometimes it's happy, sometimes it's sad, but it always ends in Happily Ever After!
A professor once told me that all first-time authors write their autobiography, even if tagged fiction. While I don’t believe that’s completely true, after all, some first-time authors write about vampires and shape shifters, I do think there’s a modicum of truth to that statement. In other words, even if an author writes a work of fiction, there are usually many elements of the story that are factual, and I’d venture to guess that, at minimum, authors probably pattern characters after people whom they know.
When my college professor suggested: “Write what you know.” — a quote often attributed to Mark Twain, but some say it is much older — I wasn’t certain if I really wanted to do that. After all, who would believe me?
Here are a few scary subjects I know about:
Child abuse, Sexual abuse, Drug abuse, Alcohol abuse, Abandonment, Rape, Suicide, Depression, Stalkers, Crime, Tragedies, Death...
But, thankfully, I also know about a lot of good subjects, too:
A new family, Hiking, Kayaking, Love at first sight, Happily ever after, Police & Detective Procedures, Belief in God, The power to overcome adversity…,
Hey, I moved out on my own at the age of seventeen, and I'm married to a retired police detective, so I've seen a lot. The problem is ... will anyone believe or want to read about "what you know?" Well, I guess that depends. If you put it into a story, add a little, as Hollywood refers to it: Based on a true story, but dramatic elements have been added for the sake of artistic expression, then, yeah, some people will believe and/or want to read because more than likely they can identify with a character and/or a situation. And while they can enjoy an escape into a fictional story, they may take something from it.
The funny thing is most of the stories throughout history are based on a couple of those "unbelievable" elements I listed above. Although they may not all be in the same story, "love at first sight," "family tragedy," and/or "an unbelievable or vicious crime" are often the basis of a work of literary fiction. Fairy tales did it. Suspense-thrillers do it. It’s a great start!
So if you don’t believe one or more of the elements of a story, does that make it "unbelievable" or a "bad" story? One of the most popular themes is "love at first sight," which often gets a bad rap by reviewers. You may not believe in "love at first sight," but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist, and many readers love it. In fact, even movies that aren’t tagged as "love at first site," usually have a hero and heroine thrust into an incredibly unbelievable situation, and are all of a sudden willing to die for each other. Of course, there are many classics like that, too: Romeo and Juliet, all the fairy tales, even The Godfather ... ooh, I bet you forgot about that one. Remember when Michael Corleone is walking through the picturesque countryside in Sicily and he spots the beautiful Apollonia… See, even graphic thrillers do it!
Well, as I mentioned in the above list, these are all the things I write about. Why? Because it’s what I know. So, let me share a tidbit of information with the unbelievers of the world who don't think "love at first sight" exists...
I’ve experienced a lot of tragedy in my life, but I got lucky in love! After my first date with my husband, I called my grandmother and told her I'd just met the man I was going to marry. Thirteen days later, he asked me to marry him. Thirty days later, we got married, and we’ve been married for thirty-one years.
Yes, I believe in "love at first sight," yes, I write tales filled with tragedy, mystery, suspense, hope and, above all, romance, because I’m living one. I’ll leave the rest of "what I know" situations that I write about in my books up to your imagination, and let you try to figure out what's real or made up. :)
Until next time, happy reading and imagining!
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