Write What you Know


If you ask most writers the key to success they will say two things: read a lot and write a lot. Of course some will even argue that one must learn the skill, but their is a unanimous third requirement that few take into consideration: live life. That’s right live your life. Writing what you know not what you have heard is a great advantage in narration. For instance, when I write I like to have settings that are based on towns that I have been too. That way I can sketch a more realistic story and keep the reader entertained and not roadblocked with foolish mistakes.

Write what you know.

I understand that writing what you know may be strange when regarding fiction, and I’m not telling you to go slay a dragon and play with swords just to write a fantasy novel, but you can work around the premise of each topic. If the valiant knight which slays the dragon is also in love with the maiden who lives in the cottage down by the river then speak from your heart. If you have ever been in love than you know how to cultivate the feelings of a man to a woman (or a man to man for that matter) and illustrating the emotions to your readers will flow simply.

Neil Gaiman discusses this topic in wonderful detail in the following video. It is fairly old but each word holds just as true.

What do you think? Discuss below.

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About Damian Rucci

D.F. Rucci is a writer, blogger, and a musician from a small town in New Jersey. View all posts by Damian Rucci

6 responses to “Write What you Know

  • Sharon Nelson

    That is a great piece of advice and I totally agree. It’s so important to KNOW what you are writing about or your story comes across as very poorly written. I have a guest blog coming out soon on the importance of research and it stresses some of the same things.
    Your blog looks great keep up the good work. 🙂

  • Damian Rucci

    That sounds great, and thank you very much 🙂

  • maelunaeve

    It’s common sense. Writing about things you have little experience with, or little imaginative license with (because I believe both have merit) is folly. Writers that disregard the rule end up being formula fiction authors, like James Patterson and other undeserving best sellers.

  • Damian Rucci

    Exactly, but there’s always the rule that Stephen King says that once you get to a certain point, you may disregard all of the rules. As silly as that sounds it’s the truth for most arts like music and of course literary works.

    For fiction it might be impossible to experience a zombie apocalypse, but you may be able to conclude the fear, or use of weaponry from your own life.

  • Maeve

    Of course. That’s the part I like to call “imaginative license,” where you take what you know and just elaborate with fantasy. Stephen King is fantastic at it. The oddities in his novels are proof enough.

  • Damian Rucci

    Stephen King is a legend, and I whole-heartedly agree on imaginative license.

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