Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Don't Write What You Know. Do What You Write.

No. I'm not a zombie. Yet.

I'm talking experience.

I've just returned from a trip half way around the world. I didn't do this trip to help me with my writing, or to gain particular experiences that I felt would allow me to talk in any authority about certain subjects. But I ended up doing that anyway. So I'm going to. I experienced things that I write about, and I experienced them for the first time.

Now when I write about them, I know what I'm talking about.

I know what you're thinking. Oh, used a gun for the first time? Ate fried chicken for breakfast? Stood in the scorching heat of a different country?

Yes, yes and yes. I did.

But no, that's not what I'm talking about.

I can feel the 80's flowing through me...

Think more 'everyday'.

How do people talk? What are shops like? The roadways? Attitude?

Want to know something?

TV lies.

TV lies about everything.

We do not look like this... Mostly.

Britain is not Downton Abbey. The US is not Miami Vice. And France? Well, actually... (I jest!)

I was in a bar in Charleston. I sat ordered drinks and put a 20 on the bar. Ten minutes later the 20 is still on the bar and I'm about to finish my drink. That doesn't happen in the UK. In the UK we treat the purchase of alcohol in a bar the same as the purchase of anything else. I order a beer. I'm expected to pay for it when the goods are handed over. The fact that I seemed to be able to get up and walk away without paying seemed bizarre.

And don't get me started on adding tax at the checkout. Here when an item in the grocery store says £1.00, it costs £1.00. No more, no less.

These little details will make the story flow better for the reader if they already know. And if they don't? They won't notice.

But in a short, it could mean acceptance or rejection.

Think about it... 

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