If you’ve always lived with pets and you are writing a sci-fi thriller, it is not so farfetched that future space travelers would not adopt adorable creatures from their stops on distant planets as pets. You can use your knowledge of ‘what you know’ about growing up in a household full of pets to express to your reader, realistically, the positives and negatives of having a pet aboard a spaceship. You know the companionship, love, joy and fun a pet can bring to an individual’s life. You also can write about the dedication it takes to care for and nurture a pet. Pets are often very loyal and protective of their owners and loved ones. There is no reason to believe space pets would not show many of the same needs and endearing traits as earthling’s beloved dogs, cats and parakeets. When you write what you know, however trivial or trite, you add a dimension of believability to your scenes that is hard to get from studying text books. Things you take for granted because you’ve grown up with them all your life or have come to encounter them day in and day out, can be fascinating to your readers who grew up in a completely different life style.
Let your readers see a glimpse of the people who have made an impact on your life both negatively and positively. We want to experience what it is like to be around such an individual. If you grew up in a house full of siblings, you don’t have to write a biography to be able to use your experiences to portray, ‘what you know’ in other types of stories. For example, the feelings of never having any privacy are universal for any overly crowded situation. No matter what genre of creative writing you are attempting, your prose will be elevated by sharing your true feelings about the humiliation you felt always having to wear hand me downs or the love, sibling rivalry, comradeship or family loyalty you experienced living with such a large family.
You may think you have a vivid and versatile imagination and believe me, there will be times when you are going to need to delve into that imagination but readers can tell when an author is baring his sole. There’s a different tone that comes across, when a writer is writing about something he cares deeply about, has a real interest in or has a fond or non-fond memory of. In your experiences is where the true value of your wisdom lies. That is what the reader is hoping to experience when he chooses your book over all the other, many books on the shelves of a book store to purchase then spend a little time with. He’s hoping to make a connection with you as the writer or with your characters. He’s hoping to learn something new or at the least have a few laughs and enjoy an hour or two. To make your reader consider his or her time well spent and worthwhile you must take the camouflage off and be willing to reveal a glimpse inside your soul.
Everyone has experiences in their life that stand out as important. Take those instances that were turning points in your own development as a person and expand on them. Add to them stuff to make them more profound. Build a story around the dramatic episodes you’ve lived first hand. Change the characters, time and place to fit in with the story you wish to tell in the genre you wish to write but keep all the emotion of the moment intact. Write what you know!