As beginners we hear the phrase: “Write about what you know” a lot. And I mean a lot. But what does that even mean? Well, I’ll tell you. It means that you need to know about something before you write about it. It’s meant to deter beginners from writing something they know nothing about. Why? So they don’t embarrass themselves. Imagine a writer whose whole book revolves around a volcanic explosion, but they didn’t know anything about explosions, so they just winged it. This will get a writer into a lot of trouble.
The phrase “write about what you know” isn’t the most constructive way to explain what we want young writers to do. It sounds like we want writers to just write what they already know. What we really want is writers to have knowledge about what they’re writing, before they write it. If they have knowledge about what they’re writing it will create a more authentic experience for readers.
If a writer already has knowledge on their topic of choice, they’re on the right track (however I will never discourage more research). If a writer DOESN’T have knowledge on their desired topic, then they need to hit the books. Always research the topic you want to write about, especially when you have no knowledge or experience with that topic. Let’s go back to the volcano example. What that writer should have done was research volcanoes, before writing the book.
Here’s a short list of information he should have gathered:
Where are active volcanoes on earth?
Why do they form there?
How are volcanoes made?
What is the difference between active and dormant volcanoes?
What are the dangers of being near an active volcano?
What can trigger a volcano to erupt?
What kind of volcano is it?
And so on…
When we research topics for books we need to be careful where we get our information and how we use it. I will go into more detail when I make a post on Research, but for now let me give everyone a piece of advise. Go to the library. The internet is full of unreliable sources cough Wikipedia cough. However, published books on topics like volcanoes are usually based off of real research and reference their sources. Also look for academic articles on the internet. Whenever you are looking at a source, check if they have references, then check the references. Follow the trail to make sure the source you’re using has strong sources of their own.
So to sum up: Always research what you want to write about, even if it is fictional.
This is just a quick update letting you all know that I’ve passed 75,000 words and I am starting to write the climax of The Last Queen of Terrivea. It is an exciting and nerve wracking part of the writing process. The climax is the most important part of the novel and I just really don’t want to screw anything up. I don’t it to fall flat and I don’t want it to be too over the top either. Someone summed up the feeling as ‘pressurized excitement’.
I’ve also been a little stressed about my resolution. I don’t want it to drag out too long, but there is important information that I want the readers to know about. Some of the information I can mention in the beginning of the next book, but some I want to keep a part of LQoT. I have some time to make that decision and I can change my mind during revisions, but I still want to have a good idea how I’m going to end LQoT.
If you have any suggestions leave me a comment below.
As you’ve probably guessed I’ve reached 65,000 words in the first draft of The Last Queen of Terrivea. It was a productive long weekend and I hope I don’t lose momentum. If things keep going like this I’ll be done the first draft before the end of December!
Speaking of which, the climax is fast approaching. I’ve already gotten the major build up all in place. I just need to do all the little work and preparation to get ready for the big moment.
I’m hoping that by the time in complete my first draft that I will have between 85,000 and 100,000 words, possibly more, but it’s hard to say at this point. My resolution will a bit longer than what most would expect, but that’s how I like to wrap things up.
If you thought this all was big news just wait for the finale!
I. Am. Going. To. Make. LQoT. Into. A. TRILOGY! Bam!
I already I have some very basic ideas about plot and characters for the sequel. I won’t give anything away at this point, but I’m quite excited. The Last Queen of Terrivea will be my first completed draft ever, and to have plans to make a trilogy has got me pumped.
Anyways, that’s all the news for now. Thank you for reading,
Most of you probably already know what quarterly goals are, so I won’t bother explaining. These are not SMART Goals, this is just a simple list of 15 things I want to achieve by Spring. My winter quarter is December, January, and February (naturally). My goals usually consist of personal To-Do’s and creative goals, I will be posting both here. However, my personal goals are going to be vague since I don’t need the internet knowing my personal business.
So here it goes! (Note: these are not in any particular order)
Keep writing! Finish The Last Queen of Terrivea!
Keep up with my blog. Get at least 3 posts a week.
Do some art.
Get more work days in. (day job)
Stick with routine.
Make a budget.
Finish reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
Finish reading The Diviners by Libba Bray.
Start reading Harry Potter. (Please don’t hate me for not already reading HP.)
Buy/Make Christmas presents for family.
Work in Writing Notebook.
Start the revision process? (dependent on goal 1.)
At the end of February I will be making a post about what I achieved and did not achieve, along with my next list of quarterly goals. This is not my first list of quarterly goals, by the way. I had quarterly goals set in the summer and for fall. I did not post them because, 1. I didn’t have much done on my blog, 2. Whenever I thought about it, it was already too late, and 3. My fall quarter sucked.
I hope everyone has a wonderful winter quarter and let me know what your goals are.
Rachel Giesel as a fellow writer making her mark on the world. She has achieved awards at a young age and has a lot of workshop experience. She has combined all of this experience and wrapped it up in a bow for other writers. On her blog you’ll see lengthy, detailed, but clean and concise posts about revising, getting to know your characters, and much more!
If you become a club member, which is 100% free, you will receive a password into more exclusive content. She provides worksheets and Writer’s DNA profiles for club members. The Writer’s DNA is an interesting concept. It’s basically allows a writer to get back in touch with all the reasons why they love writing and reading.
Personally, I have fallen in love with her material and writing style in her blogs. She is wordy, but yet not confusing. She makes perfect sense as she provides great detail in her writing. She provides examples from personal experience, but in a humble way. She is a believer in the idea that every writer is unique and will have their own process.
I particularly liked her post on How to Write + Revise Your Story in 5 Draft Stages. It is extremely helpful for beginner writers who have never gotten to the revising stage. Since The Last Queen of Terrivea is going to be my first completed book, I needed insight on how to work through revisions. This post gave me a game plan when I was clueless. It is extremely useful and easy to understand.
I would suggest any writer to go to her blog and browse around, especially if you’re a new writer. The blog is easy to the eye and easy to maneuver. So go check it out! What are you waiting for?