People say 'write what you know,' so maybe that is why there's such a plethora of stories out there about writers? (And gay vampires)
What areas of personal expertise do you incorporate into your chars? Or do you take the opposite point of view, and deliberately try to write about chars who are unlike you, and have radically different experiences from your own?
If you're writing chars who have personal experiences that are drastically different from your own, how do you get into their heads? Do you exhaustively research their backgrounds and professions, or write in a fantasy realm so you get to create the world from scratch?
Well, I breed and train horses, fight mythical creatures most days, forge my weapons and run a farm. That and I live with a witch and a tyrant. So yes, my life is pretty much identical to a lot of my characters.
...Wait, what? Computer games and living with my parents doesn't count? Well damn, I guess my life is nothing like my characters. Ok, I think I should start with my parents aren't that bad… most of the time. Well, I say most of the time...
Let me explain a bit about my life. I'm nineteen, disabled and bedbound. I have been for several years now. I conduct my entire life online, I'm on here all day, and a lot of the night writing, reading and playing games. I've always had an interest in writing, but lately I've begun to consider it as a more serious potential career. I know I am nowhere near publishing level yet (for one thing I've been writing mainly fan-fiction until now) but I plan to learn.
I'm slowly trying most genres out, but sci-fi or fantasy are the ones that call to me the most. I guess it's part escapism, and part practicality since I'm not restricted to accurately depicting lifestyles and locations I can't see for myself. The novel plan I have in my head started out as a daydream of a bored girl - I think I was reading a fantasy novel and thinking about aspects I did or didn't like - when it said to me "Earth to Laura, you've just plotted a damn novel in your daydream, write it down and share it!"
'Write what you know' is a kind of limited concept for me, since I haven't been in the world at large for most of my recent life. That said though, I do have areas that I could draw on to make an accurate and serious tale:
- Being the only kid in a wheelchair in a school not well adapted, and with unhelpful staff and students alike
- Being bullied for something out of my hands
- Being constantly in pain and having to watch people do the things I wanted to do
- Hospitals; stays away from parents, having the final say in my care from when I was eleven (my parents always gave me the truth about what doctors said, regardless of what they suggested. I really appreciated that as it was my body and life that were affected, but it meant it also put more stress on me)
- Dealing with the rifts it's caused in my family, having to live this way
Those are just a few of the issues I could put into fiction to make an interesting story, in my opinion anyway. I've had ideas before, but it always makes me feel really awkward, like I'm laying myself naked on the page. They never get far, but maybe that will change when I get more confident in my writing. I think I also sort of live vicariously through my characters; I can't go out and do things, but they can, which is a possible other reason why I don't write what I know more often.
And finally, the core experience that we here all share is that we are in some form, writers. Are any of your chars writers, or does the thought of putting pen to paper bore them stiff?
If your chars are writers, what do they write?
I don't think any of my characters are writers, at least not as their main profession, but I guess that again could be to do with me living through my characters, therefore they wouldn't do the same things I do.