Do what you know

Writing is a tough job. Learning about new subjects and putting that into a story in a way that makes sense to people who know it a lot better than I do isn’t easy.

So what’s the best way around this? Write about what you know. Put in the things you are the expert about. King David did this in the Bible. He faced the biggest challenges of his life using what he knew (1 Sam 17:39-40,  48-49).

He was given modern weapons and armour but didn’t know how to use it. But he gave them all up because he needed something he knew how to use . He needed what he was best at, not the best tools available. As most of us know, he used the a sling and a stone, tools he knew how to use well.

Other writers tend to do the same thing. Stephen King, the great writer of countless best sellers seem to have one thing in common in most stories. Stories usually include a main character who had some issues with drinking or drugs. A little history about Stephen King. He had struggles with such substances before, and had lived the experience. He therefore knows these things better than others who do not or have not had a history with alcohol or drugs.

So his characters are realistic. Their battles seem real. The fear of turning to these substances, I almost feel that same fear. He’s good, because he uses things he knows.

You can be good too. Just start with something you know and you’re off to a good start.

Add some drama to your life

Most of us like drama. Drama on tv is exciting or interesting. We think we know what’s going on. Then all of a sudden, something unexpected happens and we wonder, what’s going to happen next.

On the same note, most of us don’t like drama. Drama in our lives turn the things we like or are used to upside-down. All of a sudden, something unexpected happens and we wonder, what are we going to do next.

How interesting, we like it when it happens to others but not to us. We like it when other people have to manage the distress, heartaches, stress and whatever comes with managing the unexpected.

Psalms explores the drama that King David had to face. We read about how his enemies surround him, how King Saul was after his life. But we also read how he held on to the One who truly matters.

We like to follow the stories of people who overcame diversity and difficulties. Can you imagine watching a movie where the hero goes through life with any difficulties? Which of these would you prefer to read about: a trip to school without any issues, vs a trip to school where the hero was chased by a dog, fell into a puddle, while dodging bullets from the rebel forces fighting for their freedom.

A life without drama is boring, and we don’t grow. In good movies, the heroes must grow and change. Change in their mindset somehow. In the Matrix, the hero grows from an uncertain messiah into one who embraces his calling. In Die hard, our hero grows from a man who’s there to save his marriage to one who’s marriage is strengthened. And you can see this in almost all good movies.

So  when you write, add in some unexpected events that will turn things upside-down. You’ll find your story so much more interesting.