When I was in middle and high school, my parents did everything they could to get me away from the computer screen and into the real world. They knew I loved writing, and therefore made a point of watching out for events that I might attend locally to socialize with other writers and obtain direction and suggestions from those established in the field. Therefore, for six years, I attended Drury University’s Writing Camp. The camp consisted of rooming in the dorms with fellow aspiring writers and attending a number of conferences hosted by two or three well-known young adult authors between Thursday and Monday right after the school year ended. Here, I learned many things between there being no such thing as writer’s block (which I believe is, to put it nicely, horseshit) to write what you know.
Writing what you know is a great start in fiction, but as someone who has always wanted to learn more, I often look at various subjects or plots as a way to educate myself in which something I previously had little to no knowledge. For this reason, I would advocate writing what you WANT to know just as much if not more so than writing about things in which you are already educated. If there’s a subject you’re interested in, give yourself a reason to do some research.
That being said, don’t go out of your way to show off your newfound knowledge. Info dumps, especially in world-building scenarios, can be very tempting, but do your best to pace yourself and your reader. Only reveal what is essential for the story UP UNTIL THAT POINT while maintaining a level of realism for eventual revelations. That is, don’t reveal A Very Important Device the minute said device is needed, but also don’t devote a paragraph to a nonessential element just because you have worked it out.
As this will be the last you hear from me before the holidays, I’d like to take a minute to wish all of Romancing the Muses subscribers and readers a fantastic week and a great weekend to come. Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it, and seasons warmest regards to everyone else.