I’ve never been a fan of ‘write what you know’ because I have never, ever written what I know.
My stories have always had unicorns and dragons and talking cats and werewolves– and I’ve been writing what I don’t know for a very long time. Heck, if Black Beauty-esque horse stories count as fantasy (and I suppose they do), I’ve been writing it for forever.
The reason I’ve been writing fantasy is that I’ve been reading fantasy.
Of Acorns and Oaks
I have a photo, somewhere, of a very small me (9ish?) with a copy of The White Dragon in hand. I remember that the book didn’t make a lot of sense at the time and that I wanted MOAR DRAGONS. (And lo, there was fan fiction.)
I consumed books in mass quantities when I was young and wrote almost as fast. Scattered between my house and my mom’s is a giant pile of stories written from roughly second grade on. Everything from the harrowing story of a family trapped in their house during a snow storm (they go to the store and buy a shovel) to a separate story for every single horse in my imaginary stables.
I wrote what I wanted to read and read what I wanted to write—a lovely symbiosis that faded as I got older. Time waits for no book and ‘being a grownup’ gives you one heck of a tunnel vision sometimes. Sigh.
So it faded… but never died out.
Gathering the Legos
The one thing that kept me going through the Camp NaNoWriMo July 2011 session was that I was writing a story that I wanted to read. It was the ‘but why’ that drove the plot forward for most of the month, unlike past attempts that stumbled over ‘and now what’ roadblocks.
If I can find another idea that’s just as interesting hopefully I can recreate the magic. What I read is what I write, so it’s time to turn a critical eye on my books and television shows and try to find out what they have in common…