Be a Convincing Fake

4 Apr

“Write about what you know.”

I’ve heard this statement countless times from other authors and writing gurus.  At a glance, it sounds like a reasonable concept; if you don’t know what you’re writing about then your readers are going to pick up on it.

However, if writers took the statement literally then fiction wouldn’t exist. 

Do I have first-hand experience with time-travel, enchanted mirrors or debonair gentlemen from the 19th century?  I’d love to say yes, but I think we all know that’s not the case (not yet at least.—one can always hope).  However, there is a vital step in the writing process that allows the aforementioned concepts to feel like they were actual experiences: Research

I’ve read countless books and articles on the time period in which the Dalton family lives, I’ve visited England, I’ve studied photographs and diagrams of houses similar to Barnard Hall, a residence that only has an address in my mind and on the pages of my novel. 

If the setting of your novel takes place somewhere you’ve never been, go there… or, at the very least, dig through enough material to convince the residents that you’ve visited.  Get to know your characters better than members of your family; if someone were to ask you how each individual would act in a given situation, you need to know the answer. 

The more invested you are in the world you’ve created the happier you’ll be with the end result.

Research: Your story—and your readers—will thank you for it.

In conclusion, I’d like to propose an addendum to the original quote: “Write what you know—or what you can convincingly fake.”


Exciting news!  The next chapter of The Mirrors at Barnard Hall will be available TOMORROW!!!  Trust me, you don’t want to miss this one. To get caught up on the story, click HERE


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