We have all heard the saying “Write what you know.” This is good advice but we all know that, especially in fiction writing, you can’t always write what you know. You often you have to write outside your comfort zone.
For this reason you should KNOW WHAT YOU WRITE.
I don’t mean that you must have complete knowledge of everything you write. What I am saying is take the time to do the research. If you are writing about a character that has an interest that you are not familiar with and you don’t do the research then shame on you.
For the book I am writing it is set in the lovely land of Key West, FL. I have been to Key West but not deep into the city as I need for my book. Luckily for all of us writers in this day and time we have an AWESOME resource. It is called……wait for it……the INTERNET! For my book I have watched a ton of You Tube videos on Key West. I have Google mapped locations and went as far in as I could to see the scenery and things that I need. If I had not done this I might have made my character live on one of the islands that was for Military personnel only. That wouldn’t have lent much credibility to my story.
I have a friend who is an avid deep-sea fisher. I talked with him in detail. My character has one small scene on a fishing boat but without his insight what I had written was shallow and downright incorrect.
In another spot I have an oyster shucking scene. I could have so easily had written something to the effect of:
“He knew how to shuck an oyster like a pro.”
Instead, by watching one simple You Tube video, “See below” I wrote:
“I had all the tools he needed to shuck the oysters but I was surprised that he knew how to use them. He grabbed the oyster knife, put on the oyster glove I gave him and pulled out a small dish-towel from the stack. He worked that oyster knife like a professional. I actually think he was better at shucking an oyster than I was. He turned the oyster with the back was facing up. Got a firm hold of it in the dish towel and used the oyster knife to slide right in the hinge part. A few pushes and wiggles of the knife and he turned it and with a solid pop the oyster was opening up. He ran his knife along the top of the oyster shell making sure not make a mistake and hit the bottom and slash the oyster itself. Then once the oyster was opened he ran the knife along the bottom and it came right out. I was thoroughly impressed. “
Ok don’t “nit pick” this excerpt. It still is the first draft.
But you get my point.
A tiny bit of research on your part and you can know what you write so you are able to write it better.