If you’ve been a writer for any length of time, you’ve probably had someone tell you to write what you know, but what is that? You might even think – What I know is boring. I know that second phrase is what I think. What I know is boring. I’m boring. I worked as a computer operator, computer programmer, pilot and retail manager. Most of that is boring. No one wants to read a book about a retail manager. They might read one about a pilot, and I don’t know about that computer operator or programmer unless I wanted to write something like The Net.

If What You Know Is Boring, How Do You Make It Interesting? 

Let’s take a closer look at that pilot. I flew airplanes. I went to college to fly airplanes. I was a certified flight instructor, and I met some pretty shady individuals in that industry. Thieves. Organized Crime. Sex Addicts. Alcoholics. Abusive Sons of Bitches. The details of what I know are starting to form. A pilot flying from point A to point B every day is boring, but a drug addicted pilot, running drugs and guns for an organized crime family while being chased by the cops is pretty doggone interesting. I may have a story here.


So, What Precisely of that List Do I Know?

  • I know about pilots.

  • I know about organized crime in the aviation industry.

  • I know about abusive sons of bitches.

  • I know about codependent relationships.

  • I know about alcoholics and drug addicts.

  • I’ve been inside a court room.

  • I’ve argued with judges and lawyers.

What Do I Not Know?

  • I don’t know a damned thing about being a cop or police procedures.

  • I’ve never been arrested.

  • I’ve never been in jail (Not that they haven’t tried. Turns out being poor is almost a crime. If you think debtors prisons have been outlawed, I got some stories for you.)

I Need the Information I Don’t Know

Since I don’t know about police procedures or what it’s like to be in jail, I have to research that if I plan to write the book. Thankfully, there are lots of books on police procedures and cops for writers. A quick Amazon search tells me that I don’t have to know about that personally. It’d probably help, but I’m not going to go back to college for a criminology degree. I’m going to see if there are books available. As it turns out, there are lots of books for writers on police procedures and cops.  I use Police Procedures and Investigations and How Dunit.  Unfortunately, I can't find the How Dunit line of books anymore.



The Bottom Line

When you first think about your life and your experiences, it may seen boring, but if you dig a little deeper, you may find that you can turn that into a viable fiction novel wthout having to research a lot of things you know nothing about.  For example, if you're a stay at home mom, you might think that's not interesting when it comes to writing fiction.  It's better suited for a parenting book or how to survive being a stay at home mom.  However, it gets interesting when you think about the intracicies.  Maybe there's an abusive husband.  maybe there's a sexy next door neighbor but it turns out he's psycho, or maybe the stay at home mom.wife desperately wants out but has no money, so she takes on illicit jobs to make money so she can leave.  Even the most boring thing gets interesting when you start developing the details.


Read More on Drafting Your Novel


  1. The Minimalist’s Way to Start a First Draft ...
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  5. How to Write the Fifth and Final Draft of a Novel ...
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Read More from Stacey Carroll


AVIA1BookadfullcoverThunderstorms and .45s: 2018 Avia Version Kindle Edition


Avia might be able to con a rich woman out of 50 million dollars before her vacation to Hawaii, but she's going to need some help to do it. She has to call in people she terms her "cousins," and she has to deal with the fact that she is still an alcoholic and heroin addict. With the help of Benton, can Avia actually pull off this heist and get out of town before it is too late?




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