“Bad books on writing tell you to “WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW”, a solemn and totally false adage that is the reason there exist so many mediocre novels about English professors contemplating adultery.” – Joe Haldeman
And yet Joe Haldeman’s novel The Forever War was heavily influenced by his experiences as a Vietnam vet. I’m nowhere near brave enough to disagree with a best-seller like Joe Haldeman but fortunately I don’t think I have to. We agree from different directions.
Five Lies Creative Writing Teachers Tell makes the same point. ‘Write what you know’ is good but often misused advice: it can become so sacred a truth that it gets hammered in to the point where you’re not even allowed to use your imagination. As the writer points out, J.K. Rowling isn’t really a wizard.