33 responses

  1. Lydia Sharp
    March 5, 2010

    This is great advice, Suzannah! Making a list not only helps you write about what you do know, but I’ve found that knowing what you know helps you to make writing what you don’t know more realistic. (Sorry if that made no sense. haha.)
    I encounter this all the time because I write science fiction and fantasy. For example, I’ve never been in a space shuttle, so I don’t know what it feels like to be in zero gravity. However, I can *imagine* it by thinking about something I do know: jumping on a trampoline, or jumping off a diving board. In both those cases, you have a few seconds of weightlessness. Not the same thing, but it’s as close as I can get. That’s just one example.
    .-= Read Lydia Sharp´s last article ..52 Qualities of the Prosperous Writer: Number Nine, Saleable =-.

    • suzannah
      March 5, 2010

      Lydia,

      That’s really interesting. Science Fiction and Fantasy have never been on my writing agenda, because they’re not familiar to me. Still, I see how you use the knowledge and experiences you do have to imagine things you don’t really know. Great point, thanks :)

  2. suzen
    March 5, 2010

    This is wonderful, Suzannah! I’d like to add – if there is something you would LIKE to know about – dig into it! I love researching – must be some inquisitive gene – but once I’m on a topic, one book leads to another to another and before long I realize that I’ve acquired a mini-self-education on something that yesteryear I knew nothing about! That opens up a whole topic to write about. I just did that on my blog about the food industry. It really serves as a public safety alert – hope you will stop by and read it!
    Hugs
    suZen

    • suzannah
      March 5, 2010

      Thanks for pointing that out, Suzen. Yes, we can always know more by taking the initiative to learn about them. One thing I find particularly difficult to write about, if I don’t have first hand experience, is place. If I haven’t spent a significant amount of time in a place, I really don’t feel confident writing about it.

  3. Paulo Campos
    March 5, 2010

    A weekend project I’ve been doing my best to accomplish each week is to sit down, unplug all distractions, and force myself to list 100 things about a specific topic (last weekend, since we were hit by a maniac storm on Friday my list was “Things About Snow”). It’s hard work and is often struggle to finish.

    Because I’m looking for plot and character and setting ideas, I hadn’t really thought about it before reading this post, but one of the things that this exercise can really helps me figure out is what I don’t know and what I do, since these lists tend to have more of the latter.

    Thanks for another great post!
    .-= Read Paulo Campos´s last article ..Anatomy of EEK! Part Two: Don’t Show, Don’t Tell =-.

    • suzannah
      March 5, 2010

      Paulo,

      I need to do that too–spend a weekend free of distractions, free of the internet, free of email… I really like your idea of listing 100 things about a specific topic. I’ll try that one myself soon. Thank you!

  4. winnie
    March 5, 2010

    Wow this is wonderful, and that is why I wrote my book about me and my relationships, especially the last one. Great job.

    • suzannah
      March 5, 2010

      Thanks Winnie. Relationships are something we women know a lot about, right? :) They are at the heart of characterization.

  5. Sarah
    March 5, 2010

    What a great list–and you’re right, there’s so much more! I am going to use this as an exercise to get me unstuck in my writing…just your list gave me tons of story ideas. Sarah
    .-= Read Sarah´s last article ..Sleep on it… =-.

    • suzannah
      March 5, 2010

      Sarah,

      I wanted to keep going with this list, but I was so tired after a long day of travelling! I will, however, find some quiet time today and continue with this list. Glad you found it helpful!

  6. Stina
    March 5, 2010

    My current book is based on something I was interested in during grad school, and which seems like a unique topic for a YA book. The idea really started to take shape while I was glancing through a kids’ magazine. But if it hadn’t been for my previous interest in the topic, I would have flipped right past the article without giving it a second glance.

    I liked your exercise. I’ll keep it in mind when I get stuck for a new idea–not that it’s been a problem yet.
    .-= Read Stina´s last article ..Striving To Be Better =-.

    • suzannah
      March 5, 2010

      Stina,

      Even if you’re not stuck for story ideas, it’s a fun exercise. I promise! You’ll be amazed at what you come up with once you get started.

  7. Veronica Purcell
    March 10, 2010

    Thanks for the exercise idea. As I read through your list, my mind wandered to my own and I was soon mapping out a story. I feel all giddy.
    .-= Read Veronica Purcell´s last article ..After the Fall Ebook Trailer =-.

    • suzannah
      March 11, 2010

      I know, so many interesting things surfaced when I started my own list. I’m glad you’re giddy!

Back to top
mobile desktop