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Caroline Giammanco: 1472 North Sycamore Lane

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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(Please note: the images used as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

1472 North Sycamore Lane

By Caroline Giammanco

The winter of 1945 warmed with a jubilance no bitter frost could touch. We had won the war, and our boys returned from the battlefront eager to regain a normal life. War brides returned with some soldiers while childhood sweethearts wed in simple ceremonies back home. No one felt the need for folderol. After all, the dark days of the Great Depression were still fresh in the minds of everyone, and instead of postponing nuptials for elaborately planned displays, many couples preferred to embrace the simplicity and excitement of a new era. Such was the case for Ellie and Emmett Fields, the newlyweds who moved into 1472 North Sycamore Lane on a brisk December morning. Their short honeymoon to the coastal Carolinas was over, and now Mr. and Mrs. Fields were content to settle into their new life.

Their life together was new, but their surroundings were not. I had known Ellie since she was a newborn. Her parents moved into the family home, built by the Caster side of the clan just after the Civil War. Always a bright and cheerful child, she could be found picking daisies in the backyard or playing hide-and-seek with her friends in the expansive rooms of her beloved home.

“I’m never leaving this house,” she told her mother at breakfast one morning when she was a mere five years old.

“Oh, really, young miss? What happens when Prince Charming arrives on his white horse to take you to his castle?” her mother, Sarah Caster, asked with a smile.

“I won’t go.”

“You won’t go if Prince Charming wants to marry you?”

“No, he will have to live with me here on Sycamore Lane.”

Sarah gave her daughter a peck on the cheek and tousled her hair. “You know this house stays in the family, and heaven knows your brother has no interest in living here after he finishes school, so you are welcome to this castle.”

Ellie grinned, and her missing front tooth revealed a pink tongue. She was delighted at the idea of making this her castle, and she never let go of that dream.

Ellie spent her childhood days imagining she was a character inside the elaborate, imaginative tales she spun as she played or sat watching the fire in the living room. She read books by the hour and wiled away sunny afternoons in the woods found just past the boundary of the backyard. Don’t get me wrong. She was social, too. Friends were numerous, and Ellie was invited to her fair share of parties. That’s how she met Emmett.

He was a fine looking young man, two years older than she was. He attended school in the neighboring town of Alton which was why they hadn’t met sooner. In those days, young people didn’t travel any great distance from home. Jake Olsen’s 18th birthday party brought them together one April evening. It was love at first sight, as the saying goes, and those two were inseparable until the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and Emmett answered the call to defend our country. Emmett Fields was a good man.

After the war ended, Ellie’s parents moved to Chicago to be closer to her brother, Dale, and his wife, Laura, and their two young children. The war had separated Dale and Laura too, and now that Dale attended the university under the G.I. Bill, and they planned on having a third child as quickly as possible, Ellie’s parents, Sarah and Henry, decided it was time to be closer to the grandchildren. Sarah and Henry had tired of the same routine and believed a change of scenery would be good for them. Dale, who was always Henry’s favorite, appreciated their help around his place. Ellie didn’t take offense to her parents’ departure. It meant, after all, that her castle awaited her and her prince.

Years passed as Ellie and Emmett settled into a life of their own. Children came. First, little Raymond arrived, followed closely by blonde-haired Lucy. Emmett opened a lumber and hardware business to accommodate the booming housing market, while Ellie maintained the home and raised the children. She volunteered generously at the veterans’ hospital, always thankful that Emmett had returned from the war unscathed. Ellie also chartered the town’s first Garden Club.

The yard smelled divine throughout most of the year. Jasmine, clematis, honeysuckle, as well as several varieties of flowering trees and shrubs, decorated 1472 North Sycamore Lane. Ellie was known for her exquisite rose bushes, and she grew a vegetable garden that could have fed a dozen families. The extra produce she shared with the wives who lost their providers during the war. Unfortunately, that number was high in our little town. Platoons were made up of young men from the same community, so when a platoon took a hard hit, say at Iwo Jima or the Battle of the Bulge, a generation of young men was wiped out all at once in a small town. The names of all the boys we lost will forever dwell with me. War is hell.

Ellie and Emmett had the normal ups and downs. Some years were happy ones; others were sad. They celebrated birthdays, Christmases, and other happy occasions. There was sadness too, as they lamented the passing of both of Ellie’s parents. The children grew, and while they brought much joy, they also brought stress and anxiety to Emmett and Ellie. When Raymond left to go to Vietnam, I thought Ellie’s heart was going to break. She stopped eating, and Emmett even took her to see Doc Harris. Those were some tense days as we waited for Raymond to return, but return he did. Life moved forward with the passing of time.

Grandchildren arrived. Lucy gave Ellie and Emmett a brood of youngsters to dote over. Her husband, Hal, an electrical engineer, provided an ample living for her and their six children. They lived a few blocks away on Hyacinth Street, and most days were filled with the children’s laughter and play. Raymond added three more to the mix. He lived nearby as well.

Oh, how Ellie enjoyed the sound of little feet running through her expansive three-story home. Her favorite place to spend time with them was in the living room with its fireplace. She spent hours reading to the grandchildren. Ellie was a good storyteller herself. She spun yarns of far-away places with castles and dragons. The fire crackled and the children’s eyes widened as Ellie concocted one tale after another.

Sometimes, she couldn’t believe her good fortune.

“Who would have thought?” she said one night as she nestled into bed next to Emmett.

“Who’d have thought what?”

“All those years ago when we met at Jake’s party… Who’d have thought that today we’d be where we are.”

“I don’t know, El. It seems to me you always knew you were going to be here.” Emmett winked.

Ellie gave him a gentle slap on the shoulder. “You know what I mean. Of course, I always wanted to live in this house. I mean who would have thought we’d have built such a fine life with a house full of beautiful grandchildren always running in and out? Our children are happy and successful, and sometimes our good fortune just brings tears to my eyes.”

“I knew what you meant, dear. Yes, the Lord has truly blessed us. Now let’s get some rest. We have that big day of shopping and checkups at the doc’s tomorrow.”

A quick hug and kiss, and the lovebirds were sound asleep.

Many good memories were made on Sycamore Lane, but not all were happy. Sometimes heartache hits even the happiest of homes. I loved Emmett as much as I loved Ellie, even though I’d known her since the day she was born. The news Emmett received that next day at the doctor was worse than any of us could have imagined. He passed before the next Christmas came. Ellie was devastated.

Raymond and Lucy both asked her to come stay with them.

“Mom, it’s not good for you to stay in that drafty old house alone. What if something happens to you?”

“I’m not leaving my home. I miss your father terribly, but that house has been my heart since I was a child. I’m not leaving it. I never feel alone as long as I’m there.”

Persistent requests for her to move were ignored.

“What if you fall, or what if the weather turns bad and the power goes out, leaving you with no heat?”

“I’ll be fine. There’s wood on the back porch, and I have my fireplace. I won’t go cold. You don’t have to worry about me.”

Ellie proved them right. She had frequent company and was never alone. Members of the Garden Club visited, and her kindnesses to the war widows were never forgotten. Someone was always checking on her, making sure she wanted for nothing. The grandchildren continued to visit, and young Elisa was as fond of the old house as Ellie had been as a child.

“Grandma, I want to live here someday.”

“I’ll tell you what, little one—”

“Grams,” she interrupted. “I’m fifteen. I’m not that little.”

“Well, you’ll always be my little Punkin’.” Ellie and Elisa exchanged a hug. “Since none of the other children have any interest in living here, I’ll make sure you get it when it’s my time to go.”

“Let’s hope that’s not for a long time, Grandma.”

“I’ll go when the good Lord wants to call me to his home, Elisa. Until then, you focus on your studies and become that nurse you’ve always said you wanted to be.”

Elisa and the other grandchildren beat a steady path to 1472 North Sycamore Lane. Even as they grew up, moved away, and began their own lives, they never stayed away from their grandmother for long. Ellie’s home was where everyone went to feel safe and relaxed.

Time passed, and slowly Ellie’s health declined.

“Mom, it’s time you move in with us or go to a nursing home,” Lucy told her.

Stubborn as always, she refused to abandon the place she loved. “I’m not going to leave my home. Just stop that nonsense.”

During Elisa’s last year of nursing school, Ellie passed peacefully in the night.

Now, here I am, alone. Elisa isn’t moving in until May, and I sit empty for the first time in decades. Some of you may have heard that expression, “If this old house could talk, what would it say?”

Now you know.

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Please visit Caroline’s Facebook Page and give her a like! https://www.facebook.com/BoonieHatBandit/

Write the Story: February 2019 Collection


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Lynn Miclea: Memories of Murder

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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(Please note: the images used as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

Memories of Murder

by Lynn Miclea

Keegan stood there, staring at the chair. He had loved using that chair and he cherished what it represented. The memories flooded back. He remembered tying his victims to that chair. The red-brown bloodstains on the floorboards were still visible.

The memories made him smile. He could see the terror in the eyes of his victims when he brought out the knife. He could still hear the screams. He hadn’t killed again in all these years since then. But that chair brought back the cherished memories, and he chuckled.

Keegan remembered how the police were closing in on him and how he quickly left. He had been careless, and they had gotten too close — they had almost caught him. He had barely managed to stay one step ahead of the cops, but it was not easy. They were good.

He fondly ran his hand along the back of the chair as warmth filled him. He was too old now to kill again — he was no longer interested in that. But the memories were wonderful.

They did not bring back the family members he had lost, but they had brought him some relief, even if it was only temporary.

He silently said goodbye to the chair and the memories. It was dangerous to even be here.

Tomorrow he would retire from the police force. This case would remain unsolved, and his record would be spotless. He thought about retiring on Maui, with endless sun and sand — a fitting end to a brilliant career.

A broad smile erupted on his face. He had done it. He was free.

As he turned to leave, he heard tires screeching out in the street in front. A neighbor in a hurry? Then he heard more tires. What was going on?

A loud voice thundered through a bullhorn. “Police! You are surrounded. Come out with your hands up!”

Images of Maui beaches dissolved into images of a jail cell. Where did he mess up? What had he done wrong? How did they know?

He glanced out the front window. Four cop cars were out in front. His own squad — he knew them all. A huge sigh escaped him. He knew they were already at the back as well. All exits were covered.

He would not go to jail. There was only one way out now.

He opened the front door and saw the shocked looks on the faces of the officers who he had worked next to all these years.

He raised his handgun, aimed it at the cop who he knew was the best sharpshooter … and felt his body jerk backward as rounds of ammunition hit him.

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Copyright © 2019 Lynn Miclea. All Rights Reserved.

Please also visit Lynn’s blog, like the story there, and follow her at – https://wp.me/p4htbd-o9

Write the Story: February 2019 Collection

Calliope Njo – Snow Angel

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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Please note: the images we will use as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

Snow Angel


By Calliope Njo


I noticed her from a distance. I knew it would take a few seconds to reach her. I swooshed down the hill, came to a stop and looked around where she paused. A snow angel would be the sole remnants under that towering tree.


My old instructor would tell me to get my head out of the clouds and onto the slopes where it belonged. Funny thing though, my mind has always been on the slopes because that’s where she showed herself ever since that first day.


I climbed up all the way to the cabin I had been staying at. Cozy and rustic little place but it suited me. What I needed. Maybe if I asked that old man he could tell me more.


I couldn’t sleep and spent the night staring up at the ceiling. Her blonde hair swirled in the wind. Her icy blue eyes crinkled at the edges. Ah hell, nothing got accomplished lying down.


I grabbed a lantern by the door and held it up when I stepped outside. I didn’t expect to see anything, but a strange blue light floated in my direction. I waited there and somewhat hoped that light would disappear.


The blue light transformed into the mysterious woman. She stayed at a distance and smiled in my direction. Not sure what that slight tilt of her head meant but I waved her in. She backed up and with a gust of wind, disappeared.


I ran out to try to find any hint but no luck. I walked back to the cabin and closed the door behind me. I leaned against it and feared I lost my mind.

I settled down on my cot and didn’t expect to fall asleep but I must have. The next thing I knew the sun shone through the window.


Phoenix Constatine, the gay skier. Phoenix Constatine, a new patient in the mental ward. I laughed. It didn’t stop. I needed to talk to that old man.

A note on his door read that he had to go to the village to get more supplies and would return in two days. So much for that plan, because I won’t be here.


I spent the day skiing the mountain and no luck. She blew away someplace that couldn’t be found. Maybe I dreamed up the whole thing because of stress and exhaustion.


I had to return home to Colorado. As much as I wanted to stay I couldn’t. Maybe next time I would be able to find that magical spirit. I packed my stuff and put it by the door.


That night something whispered my name. I opened the door and she stood right in front of me. She reached out her hand. Curiosity got the best of me and I took it. So frosty, not warm like I expected.


She took me to a high mountain, a place above the clouds. Too beautiful to not look or wonder what lies below. I hated the thought, but I had to leave to get back home.

She shook her head. “You are home. Where you belong.”

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Please visit Calliopie’s blogspot and follow her! https://januaryedition.blogspot.com/2019/01/extra-extra-read-all-about-it.html

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Write the Story: January 2019 Collection

Words of Hunter S. Thompson

 

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Hunter S. Thompson was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1937. He showed a knack for writing at a young age, and after high school began his career in journalism while serving in the United States Air Force. Following his military service, Thompson traveled the country to cover a wide array of topics for numerous magazines and developed an immersive, highly personal style of reporting that would become known as “Gonzo journalism.” He would employ the style in the 1972 book for which he is best known, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which was an instant and lasting success. For the remainder of his life, Thompson’s hard-driving lifestyle—which included the steady use of illicit drugs and an ongoing love affair with firearms—and his relentlessly antiauthoritarian work made him a perpetual counterculture icon. However, his fondness for substances also contributed to several bouts of poor health, and in 2005 Thompson committed suicide at the age of 67.

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https://www.biography.com/people/hunter-s-thompson-9506260

A Look Back….

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Today marks the two-year anniversary of the Writers Unite! blog, and we want to share a bit about how the blog came to be and why.

Writers Unite! was created as a haven for all writers to share their writing for critique without fear of ridicule and where novice and experienced writers could learn from each other. We were fortunate to enjoy very steady growth and to gain exposure by appearing on Paul Reeves’s radio program, Dr. Paul’s Family Talk. As our outreach broadened, we began to grow at a staggering rate.

In the late summer of 2016, the admins decided that we needed to take the Facebook group, Writers Unite! to the internet to increase the exposure of the group and expand the content we could provide. On October 12, 2016, Writers Unite!’s blog on WordPress launched.

Building a blog is a slow process, but we have labored to bring a quality blog to our members. Included in the content available are series about writing your first novel, self-editing, marketing, as well as guest articles and podcasts of interviews from Dr. Paul’s Family Talk of authors (many who are members of WU!) and the group administrators. You will also find writing tips and writing advice from famous authors.

We are a global community and this is your blog. The admins want it to reflect the information you want to see. Please let us know what content you would like to see posted.

Thank you for the support all of our members have shown for the Facebook site and the blog. We couldn’t do this without you!  Happy Anniversary to YOUR blog!

The Admins of Writers Unite.

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Follow the WU! blog or enroll using your email address.

Writers Unite! Tips on Writing: How to Open Your Novel

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Writers Unite! Tips on Writing: Story Foundation

Mystery Genre Workshop Part Four: Tips for Writing Mysteries

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The first three parts of the Mystery Genre Workshop covered plot, characters, and the importance of creating the story’s location. Let’s review a few tips you should keep in mind as you write.

Know Your Ending!  

This will help you focus as you write the story and not lose sight of your concept. You may take a detour or two along the way, but write to your ending.

Hook Your Reader!

Make that first line or paragraph attention-grabbing, intriguing. Open with an action scene, introducing either your sleuth or your villain.

Make Your Reader Empathetic!

The reader must identify and care about your hero and want the same goals the character does.

Plot Your Plan!

Carefully plan your story (outline or pantser—on paper or mentally). Knowing where to place strategic points and keep the action going is vital.

Pace, Pace, Pace!

Take your reader on an action-filled adventure, increasing the tension as the story builds to its final climax. You must also provide scenes with little action to provide a place for your reader to breathe. A great tool to build tension, pull it away, then create more tension increasingly until the story’s final climax.

 Perfect Characters!

Humans are not perfect in real life, do not create a perfect imaginary human. Give your character flaws, both physical and psychological. Keep them real, give them family issues, scars, phobias. We all have them!

 Plant Clues and Water Often!

As you plot your story, always remember you are engaging your reader in a puzzle to discover who committed the crime. Provide clues early, be subtle but truthful about the real clues, be matter-of-fact about certain things. Misdirect your readers’ attention with red herrings—false clues—but make certain they are plausible.

 Location, Location, Location!

Your setting, the world you build for your story should serve as another character to drive your plot. Whether a gritty, noir environment or a quaint, seaside village, use the location’s characteristics to frame your narrative.

Protagonist, Antagonist, and Minions!

The closer a character is to the realization of the Protagonist’s goal, the more developed they should be. Give them dialogue when appropriate, something that makes them unique—a hobby, an addiction, plays a sport on the weekend.

 Stay on Target!

Your goal is to take your Protagonist from desiring to achieving a goal. Keep the narrative focused on the target, and that is realizing their goal. Any extraneous scenes that creep in your writing need to be thrown out. The mystery and the clues to solve it are all you should be concerned about it.

 Have Fun!

As a mystery fan, diving into a “who done it” and trying to decipher the clues and guess the culprit is enjoyable. As a mystery writer, my pleasure is from writing those clues and hoping to stay ahead of the reader and shock them at the end.  How much fun is that? Enjoy the process and your reader will as well!

 (Also, don’t use exclamation points as I did here, no more than one per book.  They are fun though!)

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For Writers Who Love Worksheets: 

Some writers love worksheets for plotting, character development, and world building. I never do any of this, but in case you do, here are some representative worksheets for your use.

 

Plotting Your Story:

https://evernote.com/blog/12-creative-writing-templates/

 

Character Development:

https://thinkwritten.com/character-development-questions/

 

World Building:

https://nybookeditors.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/World-Building-Worksheet.pdf

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Mystery Genre Workshop Part Three: Scene of the Crime

 

The Importance of location

When fingertips touch the keyboard to write a story, a writer is beginning the process of building a new world. How mundane, ordinary, complex or exotic doesn’t matter, writers are world builders.

While the term usually conjures up alien civilizations or fantasy castles, the truth is when the screenwriters imagined Cabot Cove of Murder She Wrote or the author of Midsomer Murders borrowed the countryside of England near Oxford to use as the setting for her novel, they were building a world.

Designing a new world is complex. When writing a science fiction or fantasy story, you start with a blank slate, creating everything. If you choose a ‘ready-made’ location, much is already set in place, you only need to tweak locales to suit your plot needs.

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There are three types of world building. Let’s look at what is involved with each.

 The Created World

This the world most think about when hearing the term “world building.” The science fiction and fantasy genres where a writer’s imagination selects everything that exists.

  • Design the physical world: terrain (mountainous, desert, forest, coastal), atmosphere, location in the universe.
  • Create races of beings (keeping natural conditions in mind).
  • Culture including art, music, writing.
  • Government and military systems.
  • Infrastructure and city planning.
  • Education.
  • Agriculture.
  • Industry.
  • And everything else!

The Real World

This world is the one we know. Most stories are set in villages, towns or cities that we are familiar with or have a history to draw from. Historical fiction novels are set in a known past. All other genres, other than those of the created world, fall here.

Fictional locations can be written but do not deviate from what is known. A small town can be created for a cozy mystery novel, but it will have the same features as any small town.  The government, military, and the culture will be as we know it.

The Alternate Reality World

This is a world that we think we know, but it is not the same. The Alternate history genre tweaks the actual outcomes of significant events such as the ending of World War II and redirects history. The landscape and peoples may remain, but the government, military, culture, infrastructure, and perhaps agriculture may have been altered.

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The Mystery World

Mystery stories typically fall into the realm of the “Real World” although mysteries can be set in any imaginary world. There are some considerations to make as you develop your mystery world.

You must set a world conducive to a murder mystery. That is one where you do not reveal too much about the world where your detective or your killer resides. You must leave unanswered questions about the world.

Clues, both real and red herrings, must be set in the framework but again against a backdrop of mystery. If the murder happens in a room where there is a secret door, until the detective knows there is a secret door, the reader should not either. If the story is being told from the POV of the killer, then the door may be revealed to the reader but not the detective. Again, you have created your world, but you must keep it secret.

Someone must solve the crime. If you are writing crime fiction, a law enforcement officer will be your lead investigator. The agency the investigator works for, a local police department, the FBI or any other agency must be created.

Details should include:

  • Department structure: Who is in charge? What are your investigator’s rank and responsibilities?
  • Ancillary services: Is there a forensics department? A medical examiner? A video tech?

In a cozy fiction, the investigator is a civilian. It is essential to establish the plausibility that they can solve a crime.

Details should include:

  • Who is this amateur sleuth?
  • How did they become involved in the murder?
  • Who do they know? (family and friends)
  • What are the skills they possess that might assist them in solving a crime?
  • Do they know someone close to the official investigation that might have information to share? (police officer, medical examiner, prosecutor, reporter, etc.)

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Wait. Less World Building is Better?

There is a fallacy in the concept of world building. While crucial to the development of your story, it is the story that drives the world building, not the opposite.

Many authors, especially those who write science fiction and fantasy, revel in creating every minutia of the world they are writing about. That may be a satisfying exercise for the author but an unnecessary one. Despite the plethora of world building worksheets available, the process is considerably more straightforward than it appears.

The only world building you need is dictated by the story you write. Let’s assume that you are writing a science fiction story set on a spaceship. The most immediate world you should describe is the world your characters exist in, the spaceship. Description, origin, propulsion system, crew, food stores, destination, and reason for the mission are all crucial aspects of the world that need to be determined. A planet they stop on for only a short time requires less description, a planet where most of the action takes place needs more explanation.

Do not write your story around your world, but create the world around your story.

Guest Blog: Write What You Know — David Reiss

Once upon a time–when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and I was still in high school–I had a wonderful English teacher who treated his students as peers and insisted that we all call him by his first name; his enthusiasm for literature and drama was outright contagious. He convinced me to read outside my preferred genres, and he pushed me to write, write and write some more. A tremendously harsh critic, he somehow managed to be supportive even while delivering the most ruthless dissections of my prose. I was a bitter and catastrophically depressed teenager who approached each school day with apprehensive dread, but for his classes, I held a genuine anticipation.

Until one lecture when he insisted that creating compelling fiction required that we ‘write what we know,’ and all my enthusiasm burned away into ash.

At the time, I thought that he meant that our prose should be limited to our experiences and our areas of expertise. I couldn’t imagine any subject less interesting or worthy of consideration. How could the experiences of a morose, sheltered and awkward kid be relevant to the life of an inhuman denizen of a fantasy dungeon? I wanted to write about dragons and laser pistols, camaraderie and adventure!

I occasionally wish for a time machine so that I could leap across the years and smack my younger self on the back of the head. Because the truth is every experience is something you can learn from. I may not have ever soared above a battlefield then folded my wings to drop into combat like the gryphon protagonist from one of my short stories…but I knew the feel of wind against my face and could add that sensation to describe my gryphon’s flight. I knew what it looked like when a hawk stooped towards its prey. I knew what anger felt like, and fear, and hope, and sadness.

To ‘write what you know’ doesn’t mean to write about yourself. It means to use your personal experiences to lend the power of authenticity to your prose.

There is a secondary meaning as well, and it is one that I try to take to heart more as an adult author: Research, knowledge and the acquisition of new sensory memories can make your writing more compelling. It’s tempting to feel content that having swung a baseball bat is sufficient experience to write a scene in which an armored knight wields a mace, and it is true that being able to evoke the memory of how your grip strained or how your shoulder shook at the moment of impact is important. But spending time researching how maces were used historically can help create a more powerful scene. Look up how much real maces weighed. Research the kinds of wounds that a mace caused. If you can, make a mace and create new sensory memories by beating up an old tire. Interview experts and NEVER rely on anything you saw in a Hollywood blockbuster movie because Hollywood is a lying liar who lies.

Try new things! Get your hands dirty in the garden, take a lesson in welding, bungee jump, hang-glide. Eat exotic foods and learn to mix cocktails. Live.

So, my advice to an aspiring author is this: Write what you know because you know much more than you think. And never, ever stop learning because who knows what you’re going to want to write about tomorrow?

About the Author:

While growing up, David Reiss was that weird kid with his nose in a book and his head in the clouds. He was the table-top role-playing game geek, the comic-book nerd, the story-teller, and dreamer.
Fortunately, he hasn’t changed much.

David is a software engineer by trade and a long-time sci-fi and fantasy devotee by passion, and he lives in Silicon Valley with his partner of twenty-six years. Until recently, he also shared his life with a disturbingly spoiled cat named Freya.

(Farewell, little huntress. You were loved. You are missed.)

David’s first book, Fid’s Crusade, has just recently been published; this was his first novel-length project, but it certainly won’t be his last—he’s having far too much fun!