October: Writing What You Don’t Know

It’s an adage every writer has heard at least a dozen times: Write what you know. I take issue with this adage, as I am a fantasy author. Half of my writing is my own invention. For this, I turn to the words of my favorite author.

“As I matured in skill, I began to see what this phrase meant. Though in this genre we write about the fantastic, the stories work best when there is solid grounding in our world. Magic works best for me when it aligns with scientific principles. Worldbuilding works best when it draws from sources in our world. Characters work best when they are grounded in solid human emotion and experience.

“Being a writer, then, is as much about observation as it is imagination.” Brandon Sanderson, Arcanum Unbounded: The Emperor’s Soul postscript

During the month of October, we will be talking about all those things we don’t know, but definitely want to include in our writing. That includes things like creating cultures, building pantheons, and delving into the magical realms.

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