Write what you know

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The old adage ‘Write what you know’ crops up a lot in creative writing blogs and advice, and to be fair it can be quite useful to have some background and knowledge on things like location, regional dialect, history and experiences, however when you write horror and paranormal romance, unless you’ve actually been attacked by a vampire or serenaded by a werewolf, you can’t really ‘write what you know’.

So, to counter this, I’ve took to going certain places, sitting with my trusty laptop and soaking up, at the very least, the physical ambiance, to make my stories believable. I love going to churches and graveyards, to stately homes and old forgotten sites. I sit, I take it all in, then I write notes on how I feel, what I can smell, hear, see around me. We may have to wrap up warm now, but soon the summer will be upon us and we can really start doing some exploring for the settings of our stories.

If you’re not in the mood, or position, to escape your writing lair then you can also use the wealth of pictures and information online. Using Google Maps you can see images of places all around the world and explore the streets of London, Madrid or even Transilvania.

Log on and create a Pinterest account  – I’ve already started collecting interesting and inspiring paranormal and horror images on mine. Some tourist sites even give you virtual tours, so you can experience the visual wonders without having to stray too from your computer.

Museums are also wonderful places to spend a day with a note pad – you’ll find not only works of art and materials from history, that can add texture and credence to your writing, but also inspiration itself for your stories.

I’ve also found its great to share pictures and experiences with other writers, what might be a fond memory for you can be a rich addition to your fellow writers’ prose. So let’s get talking here – leave me a comment it, you can, about the last interesting place you went to, and don’t forget to add in online links where available.

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One comment on “Write what you know

  1. I can relate to what you’re saying about the mood of a place very well. Having begun my http://www.TheVampireNoctuaries.com novels when living in Ohio and now living in Los Angeles, I can say they would have never had the same feel if I had started them in California. The vibe is vastly different out here. Sunshine and palm trees definitely doesn’t give the same feel as dark woods and fireflies, no matter how many Skinny Puppy albums you try playing in the background.

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