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Writing what you know – Part one

Writers are often told to write what they know, which seems like excellent advice, but what exactly does it mean?

In terms of writing and publishing trends, even though the height of the Harry Potter phenomenon is now long gone, there doesn’t seem to be any shortage of books with similar fantasy themes. I’m in bookstores in Calgary conducting signings on a regular basis and a large percentage of the books that children and young adults seem to enjoy are in the fantasy genre.

These stories don’t always involve wizards and dragons and that kind of thing but magic is usually part of the story. This appears to be an ongoing trend although vampires, elves, and zombies seem to be less popular than they used to be.

Steampunk mostly appears in adult novels but there have also been books in this genre for teens and YA in recent years. The paranormal is also quite popular these days, but how long that trend lasts is unknown, of course.

As an author it’s really up to you what you decide to write about, but I always find it’s best to write what you know or at least are interested in. It’s much harder to write a novel to satisfy a current trend if you dislike or are uninterested in the topic or genre. For example, my own books cover such areas as fantasy, science fiction, the paranormal, time travel, superheroes, parallel universes, alternate realities, historical fiction, and a few other themes. These are the things I’m interested in writing about so that makes it easier to develop the story ideas but also to actually create the novels.

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