Writing What You Know

Random picture I took in Asakusa (Tokyo).

Have a random picture I took in Asakusa (Tokyo) back in my Japan days.

The picture is tangentially relevant and makes this post look more exciting. Bear with me here.

Really, we all write what we know to a certain extent. We also write what we arguably don’t know. In my case, aside from the internal lives of my characters (emotions, etc.), I’m more often out in the land of things I have not personally experienced.

But sometimes I think about doing something more true-to-life, which is where that picture ties in. I used to live in Japan and sometimes I toy with the idea of writing something set over there, which would be a totally different kind of writing what I know. It would mean drawing on direct experiences more literally, in a way I don’t with my fantasy stuff.

I’ve never done it because, frankly, I find it more daunting than writing something detached from my own life. It feels like there’s more at stake. Because, the thing is, I love Japan. I don’t always like it, but the love is there. And trying to write a story in that context is hard because I get hunt up on details. It’s actually harder than writing about something I only know by research or inference.

One of these days, I’ll probably do a Japan novel. Pull from my memories and experiences and opinions and make something fun out of it. There’s a lot of potential there and I’m sure it’ll happen eventually.

Once I get over my block on writing what I do, in fact, know.

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