Write what you know.  It’s a good piece of advice.  But what I know is stay-at-home motherhood and the chaos of 4 children.  I don’t want to read about that!  Why would I want to write about that?

My passion is fantasy and historical fiction.  So how do I write that and still write what I know?  Here are a few ways:


Increase what you know.

Don’t stop learning.  Spend long evenings just browsing wikipedia.  Read books.  Even if you never plan on using it.  Expanding your knowledge base is great to keep your brain elastic, and you might stumble on something you can use in your writing.


Plenty of modern day experiences are universal to any time or place – even made-up ones.  Take your stories and translate them into your setting.

Write from your deep places.

While we’re on the topic of universal experiences, another thing that doesn’t change is feelings.  If you’ve been discouraged by failure, felt betrayed, fallen in love, or surmounted an obstacle, chances are your character can too.  These are the things that make a character real, no matter when or where they are.  The deeper you dig into your own feelings, the more dimension your characters will have.  The nice thing about fiction is no one needs to know those are your feelings.  And an added benefit is the cathartic experience you can have as a writer as you deal with your feelings on paper (screen?).


Just because you may write fairy tales doesn’t mean they can’t be true.