Bad Advice Boogie: Write What You Know

hi I'm Jeff summers author of the Avery case series the istari cycle and writing without rules and this is Homer who's about as unimpressed with me as a cat can possibly be in today's installment / his boogie we're gonna be talking about that old chestnut write what you know now write what you know like a lot of writing advice is not inherently bad advice there's a kernel of truth to it there's some good stuff you can take away from it the problem with write what you know as I discuss them a little bit more detail on the blog post is that again sublime way – literally and way too rigidly people get hung up on the idea that you have to be an expert in every single thing that you're writing about or else you're some sort of fraud this has a really really deal tereus effect on first drafts especially first wraps are supposed to be exciting fun creative you know sort of a race to the finish line the thing about first drafts that people forget very often is that you can fix them up they're designed to be revised they're meant to be revised for example from my own writing career the novel the electric church which is the first book of the ebrake Age series this book is a dystopian sci-fi novel set the filter New York City and Avery Cates is an assassin he's what's known as a gunner in this universe makes his living by killing people lives and dies by his gun guns are everywhere in this book when I wrote the first draft of the electric church I didn't know anything about guns I'd never picked up a gun I never touch the gun and never fired a gun my knowledge of guns came entirely from TV shows of movies I partially solved from for this by the simple expedient of making up my own gun manufacturer having a fictitious gun of course meant I didn't really need to know anything about it I could sort of make anything up I felt like and who could challenge me the gun didn't exist no one was gonna pull up a schematic and say no no you've got this wrong so that helped and then after that I simply didn't worry about it anymore I just went ahead and I concentrated on telling a good story I worried about the details later or not at all is that if you get the details wrong you have an opportunity to fix it later whether it's on your own or when you know a beta reader gets back to you and says this isn't working if I had stopped to take a master class and gun handling is it possible at the first draft would have been better in the sense of having more accurate gun handling absolutely in the sense of storytelling it wouldn't have had any impact whatsoever I'm happy that I didn't slow down or stop and miss my window of opportunity where I was super excited about the story in order to become a gun expert and I think that's the approach that everybody should take when it comes to write what you know worried about knowing it later get the story done first and then you can get the details right until next time I'm bounded by his boogie I'm Jeff summers and Palmer won't be sleeping

1 thought on “Bad Advice Boogie: Write What You Know

  1. Interesting video, only next time, please lose the plopping noise. It's very distracting from what you're saying.

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