Write what I know? Does this mean I need a degree in physics to write a sci-fi novel? No, not even. A mechanic doesn’t write a non-fiction about brain surgery and a brain surgeon probably won’t be writing about an electric engine. Same processes for fiction, even if its complete fantasy, it is still the fantasy that you know.
Write what you know means just that. You know good sci-fi or you know good romance or you know good mysteries. You have read and watched the genre and you talk and think about the genre.
Having some actual education does help, don’t get me wrong I KNOW history, but ROMANCE (which is my genre) is relative. I know what I think is romantic and I bring what I know alive through my character’s development and story.
So if you know how atoms work and you want to create a fusion shrink ray then certainly you can use the science. But if you are just using your imagination and you have seen every episode of Star Trek and you have some episodes which worked and some that didn’t then you KNOW what makes the story enjoyable.
This doesn’t mean you should shy away from things you do not know. I have written a contemporary and I have written other genres, but it was a struggle and I spent a great deal of time gathering information which made the writing less enjoyable.
When you think about what I say, you will see the reasoning. You don’t KNOW stuff you don’t like. The stuff you know you CHOOSE to learn about, you get excited when you find new information, you get chills when someone uses the information in an entertaining way. You pass on your knowledge and you create an excitement and enthusiasm for your work because you add your own excitement and enthusiasm into your work.
The writing is your own not a collection of other peoples’ knowledge and because it is yours the story flows.
Write what you know and READ ON