I’m up to my red eyeballs with editing and proofing The Shining Ones – putting commas in and taking them out again – so here’s a short post about things I’ve never done. (And my eyes really are red! The heating is back on and they’re not happy about it, and staring at a computer screen all day doesn’t help.)
Anyway, writers are often told: Write what you know.
It seems reasonable until you think about it. If I only write about what I know, I’m going to be stuck with a very small range of subjects and experiences. All my characters will look and sound like me, and my stories will be the most boring stories ever written.
Research helps to fill in the gaps, but it can only take you so far, especially when you’re writing fantasy or science fiction.
Imagination is the key to making it work, but that has to be grounded in something real. In other words, it has to be believable and relatable. You can draw on your own experience and then stretch it as far as you dare.
Not everyone will follow you on your flights of fancy. Some readers avoid anything that smacks too much of fantasy or unreality – I’m not sure why. Reality seems to be enough for them.
Reality was never enough for me. Maybe that’s why I became a writer – too much going on inside my head and I had to put it somewhere.
So with that in mind, here’s ten things I haven’t done but have written about. They’re all things that happen in The Shining Ones, and there’s a couple that I’d love to try…
I have never:
- Stood on a glacier
- Abseiled into a cave
- Flown in a private jet
- Shot a man in the back
- Escaped from a predator drone on a sledge pulled by huskies (spoiler!)
- Driven around Scotland on a motorbike
- Broken into someone’s house (not strictly true, don’t ask)
- Passed myself off as my mother (although I was once mistaken for her by a relative, don’t ask)
- Travelled the angel highway (with or without angelic assistance)
- Seen a pigeon transform into a woman (or vice versa)
I’ve avoided spoilers, mostly – there’s many more crazy happenings in the book. If you’d like to read a version of the scene mentioned at 10 on this list, go here: first chapter extract.
Hopefully, by next week I’ll have finished torturing the manuscript into shape and we’ll be ready to tackle writing the blurb and designing the cover…
Until then, what have you written that you know nothing about?