Write What You Know
A Guest Blog by Brooke Williams
I feel like I have been writing all of my life. I started out in grade school writing and illustrating the strangest little stories. I went on to adore assignments for research papers in high school and college. I moved on to script writing for radio. And then I went into freelance writing before moving into the novel writing realm. If I have learned one thing over the years, it is that when you write a novel, writing what you know is not only easier, but also more profound and sincere.
I have been to a few different writing conferences and I have received advice from a number of different agents, authors, and people in the publishing industry. I have tried to take all of the advice, but to tell you the truth, not all of it sinks in. But one thing has and that is to write what I know. Let me give you a few examples.
In my novel “Someone Always Loved You,” one couple meets on the Internet. My husband and I met online. In that same book, a character is in a coma and some of the memories she has are things that happened to me when I was a child.
In “God in the Kitchen,” the main character is a radio personality. I was in radio for 12 years. In “Wrong Place, Right Time,” a romantic comedy due out December 9th, the main character is a bumbling TV traffic reporter. I was a traffic reporter on TV for a whopping 5 months.
It is easy to write about things that I have experience with or places I have been. I can visualize and describe locations better and I can relate to the characters who are going through things I have been through myself. It makes the book authentic on a deeper level.
That’s not to say that everything I write is something I “know.” That’s part of the fun of being a writer…making things up! In “Beyond the Bars,” for example, five buses explode in five different cities. I have never seen a bus explosion and I hope I never will. The book also involves a prison break, a kidnapping and so much more. That book is probably the one that I imagined the most. But some of the characters still have elements of me. There is a frantic mom, for example, who wants nothing more to get to her child and keep her safe. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my kids!
I encourage you to read “Someone Always Loved You” and see if you can figure out what’s real and what’s completely made up. Even people who know me well can’t tell for sure. That novel is the book closest to my heart, though it’s the first one I’ve written. I’m pretty sure it will always be my favorite. It takes readers through such a range of emotions and has so much of me in it. The idea came to me at a time in my life when I needed something so badly…and what I got was “Someone Always Loved You,” a book I have never been able to let go!
So for aspiring writers, I advise you to find some aspects of your life that you can use in the books that you write. Whether it’s a career, a place you’ve traveled, a language you know, memories you have or something else. You are the only you there is. Use that to your advantage and use your experiences to make the book better. Then, make the rest up! I am still amazed that I get to hang out and make stuff up for a living. Is there a job in this world that is any more fun than that?!
Brooke Williams is an award-winning author and freelance writer. She began her career in radio, both on the air and behind the scenes. She did a brief stint in TV news and then took on her most challenging job as a stay at home mom. During the few quiet hours in her day, Brooke writes articles for a number of clients as well as fiction creations such as “Someone Always Loved You.” Brooke has also written “Beyond the Bars,” a thriller, “God in the Kitchen,” a Christian novel, and “Taxi Delivery,” a Christian Romance. Brooke looks forward to the December 9th release of “Wrong Place, Right Time,” a romantic comedy and the February 2015 release of “Accept this Dandelion” inspired by the Bachelor TV show. Brooke has been married to her husband Sean since 2002 and has two daughters, Kaelyn and Sadie.