Deadly Ever After

The Writing Adventures of The Undead Duo–Julie Hutchings and Kristen Strassel

Writing What You Don’t Know

Today’s Brew: On to Blueberry!

by Kristen

Write what you know.

It’s the mantra of beginning writers everywhere. It’s a security blanket we wrap ourselves in, loving friends and family. What can possibly go wrong?  It’s low risk, still rewarding. You can also put the pedal to metal and get those words out. You don’t have to bog yourself down with pesky research.

There comes a time where you have to let the baby bird, in this case your characters, out of the nest.  They need to explore the bigger world and face new issues.  This is a good rule of thumb for real people too, but not as easy to uproot your adult life and start all over just because you’re bored. (Okay, okay. I’m guilty. I’ve done it.)

It’s time to do research.

In my first books, Because The Night and Night Moves, as well as novella Seasons In The Sun, I pretty much wrote what I knew. Of course the vampire stuff is totally made up, but I just needed to rely on my imagination. For Night Moves, the characters went on tour. I researched the cities I wasn’t familiar with courtesy of the good old google box, and kept details generic as possible so no resident of that city could point a finger and call me a fraud.

Now it’s time to start In The Still Of The Night.  I’m still writing about rock star vampires, but if I keep writing the same tale, well, why bother? So this time I’m adding in some new elements.  Tarot reading. Circus. Quebec City. And some other stuff, but I don’t want to spoil the whole damn thing.  I want you to read it.

Those three things I’ve listed, I know nothing about. So I need to learn. For me, that’s a mix of research and doing.  I have a deck of tarot cards and a Tarot For Dummies book.  I’m going to sit down and figure things out.  I may road trip to Quebec City. (Already cringing at the thought, since I speak piss poor French).  I’ve actually looked into trapeze classes.

I’m excited about this.  I love new experiences, and I love learning new things.  I’ll need to cook up some more crazy scenarios for me to try under the guise of “research.”

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6 thoughts on “Writing What You Don’t Know

  1. I need to do some research myself sometime before next year for a new project. But you’re right, eventually you have to push yourself beyond just writing what you know. But when you do, make sure you know what you’re writing about. Research, talking to people who know about it, all that good stuff. 🙂

  2. sounds like some fun research materials you’ve chosen there! Enjoy 🙂

  3. I’m all about not suffering for my art. If I don’t have fun writing it, you won’t have fun reading it.

    Kristen

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