A boatyard. A sailboat up onjacks. Since I am in my boat all day writing, other sailors know they can grab me to help crew on a boat going into the yard at the commercial leg of the harbor. We steer into the entrance of a deep concrete shute. The waves surge and push in that tiny area. We toss our lines. They stretch and pull. The bands from the hoist drop down and are adjusted, then we are lifted into the air. Swaying. When I'm up there I can get a bit dizzy from the height and the side to side motion.
My back cramps from all the bending. My arms ache from holding rollers up over my head painting ORION'S bottom.
This is something I experienced.
It is something I can write about with authority.
6 am and 72 degrees.
My first novel involved traveling around the world. Lots of traveling.
Just one problem. I wrote about places I had never been and left out others I had.
And it showed.
It was blatantly obvious to my beta readers where I had been and where I hadn't.
Although we writers write fiction, we have to place strands of truth our readers recognize as authentic. I am not saying you can't write about what you don't know.
I am saying make sure you write about what you do.
Intertwine the two and do some research.
And not just from books.
If you're going to write about sailboats, you better have crewed in one. If you're going to write crime novels or legal thrillers. You better talk to policemen and lawyers that specialize in those areas.
Write what you know.
Write what you don't know and learn.
Bring a fresh perspective.
But that authenticity has got to be there.
Or you are a fraud.
And it will show.
So what do you think?
Have I opened a can of Lumbricus terrestris?
The floor is now open.