Write what you know, and if you don't know it then don't write it

I've been having issues lately. (Obviously, we all know this. I literally do nothing but scream about Spider-Man and post random pictures. (On the topic of Spider-Man, the new trailer came out AND MY LIFE HAS CHANGED FOREVER.)) 

You may remember way back in April when I did Camp NaNoWriMo. It was a super great experience and a big part of the reason why I did NaNo this November, and I don't regret it for a second. My book was about this girl who gets trapped in another dimension and falls in love with someone there. In later books, they break up.

Does this weird you out?
Because it weirds me out. 

I've been having issues with going on to write the next two books in the trilogy and properly editing the first one because I don't have the right life experience to write it. Obviously, I've never been trapped in another dimension before (although that would probably explain my issues, to be honest). On the other hand, I've never been in a romantic relationship. I'm totally fine with that, too, because a boyfriend would probably just slow me down (I've got Mordor to invade here, why are you holding my hand?!?!) and I'm not in a place right now where I want that. (Guys in books are way more low-maintence anyways, unless they're killed in some horrible way and make me cry every time someone mentions their name. (I'm looking at you, Maze Runner.)) Never having been in a romantic relationship, though, means I've never had a break-up. 

This makes my books mildly difficult to write. 

I love the characters. I love the world. I love the plot. I love all the lovely science bits and machinery and inter-dimensional travel. I just can't do the emotions justice. 

When you first get into writing, one of the pieces of advice that's thrown around quite frequently is to write what you know. Write a book set in your hometown, you know it best. Write a book set in high school, you've been there. Write about a trip to Thailand, you've travelled there. I think it's a really good piece of advice and I've used it quite often, but there are limits because obviously writers can't know everything. We can't know what the next dimension to the left is like. We can't know what it's like to die. We can't know what it's like to swing through Manhattan in a onesie, webbing up bad guys (unfortunately).  

I, in all my infinite wisdom, have placed the boundaries of write what you know on emotions. I can do the research and use my imagination to write the story of someone who lives on a spaceship, in a fictional city, on a deserted island. I can research and make up what it's like to live during the Middle Ages, ancient China or Australia fifty years from now. (Obviously there are limits and it's always best to do your research and talk to people who have actually had those experiences, especially regarding race, gender, disabilities or illnesses.)

But I can't pretend to know what it's like to be in love with someone, then to have my heart broken afterwards. I feel like I'll be doing people who have had those experiences an injustice because the emotions won't be quite right. On the other hand, I really love my idea for my trilogy and want it to work. I'm just not sure if now is the right time to force it. 

Have you ever had to write something you weren't familiar with? Any advice for me? How closely do you follow write what you know


  1. Ack, this is a struggle for me, too. A friend once asked me why two characters didn't fall in love in a WIP and that they'd be perfect for each other. The truth is, I couldn't figure out how to not make it super lame and stereotypical. It's a problem, for sure.

    1. It can be super difficult :/ I hope you manage to figure out where to go with your WIP. Stereotypes are so rampant in love stories that it can be really hard to figure out what to do. Thanks for commenting, RM!

  2. I struggle with this as well except I wanna write about a girl who has this crush on her crush (They won't end up together, though). I find this hard because I've only has crushes on celebrities and YouTubers so I'm PANICKING!

    Yeah, that picture is pretty weird...

    Any advice for you? No, I'M PANICKING!

    1. I know, like how do people even write stuff??? Literally have no advice for you beyond wing it and hope for the best, but that's my life advice for everything so I don't know how much I'd trust it. I hope you figure it out! DON'T PANIC WE'LL GET THROUGH THIS!


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