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Thursday, January 26, 2012


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Click on the banner for more of Roni's stops. She will be giving away a signed set of Romance Trading Cards to one commenter on this stop, and all commenters will be entered into the drawing for a $25 Amazon gift certificate.

Write What You Know, Research the Rest

When you start writing, you’ll hear over and over again the old adage “write what you know.” In some ways, it’s good advice. It makes sense to pull some of your own experiences and infuse them into your story. However, I think that’s way too limiting of a saying. If you’re only supposed to write what you know, how exactly should you go about writing a story on an imaginary planet or a story of shape-shifting giraffe? (Okay, not actually writing that last one.)

Only writing about what we know could turn out to be a pretty boring stack of books unless your life has been memoir-worthy interesting. We’re in the information age. If you don’t know about something, you have more knowledge than you could ever need at your fingertips with the internet. And if you need more hands on experience, you can go out there and get it. Are you writing a novel with a lot of police procedures? Go interview a cop or do a ride along. And if you’re writing the kind of books I write, then well, research can be even more fun. (Just ask my husband, lol.) Believe me, if anyone ever checks out my search history, they’re going to draw some pretty interesting conclusions about me. ;)

So though I use “write what you know” is some regards--Brynn is a social worker (my former job), the story is in Dallas (where I live), and Brynn is struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (something I’m familiar with due to my psychology background)--I use it sparingly. The fun of writing is the creation. I don’t have to find a place like The Ranch (the BDSM resort in my book) to write about it. I can build it from the ground up in my mind. For me to write a love scene with a rockstar, I don’t actually have to sleep with a rockstar. (Though, Jared Leto, if you ever want to donate your body to literary research, give me a call.)

And sometimes knowing too many “facts” can even work against you. Ever read a book where you can tell the writer has the same job as the heroine or hero? There are so many mundane details about the day to day job, and it’s boring! When you know something so well, sometimes you can info dump and that can drag a story down. The key is finding a balance between writing accurately about something, but keeping it interesting and relevant to the story.

So write what you know...or don’t! That’s why they call it fiction. : )

If you wrote a book, what kind of research would you need or want to do?

Roni wrote her first romance novel at age fifteen when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them. Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has. Though she’ll forever be a New Orleans girl at heart, she now lives in Dallas with her husband and son. If she’s not working on her latest sexy story, you can find her reading, watching reality television, or indulging in her unhealthy addiction to rockstars, er, rock concerts. Yeah, that's it. Her debut novel, CRASH INTO YOU, was published by Berkley Heat January 3, 2012.

Tumblr (where I post mancandy photos):

Brynn LeBreck has dedicated herself to helping women in crisis, but she never imagined how personal her work would get, or where it would take her. Her younger sister is missing, suspected to be hiding from cops and criminals alike at a highly secretive BDSM retreat—a place where the elite escape to play out their most extreme sexual fantasies. To find her Brynn must go undercover as a sexual submissive. Unfortunately, The Ranch is invitation only. And the one Master who can get her in is from the darkest corner of Brynn’s past.

Brynn knows what attorney Reid Jamison is like once stripped of his conservative suit and tie. Years ago she left herself vulnerable only to have him crush her heart. Now she needs him again. Back on top. And he’s all too willing to engage. But as their primal desires and old wounds are exposed, the sexual games escalate—and so does the danger. Their hearts aren’t the only things at risk. Someone else is watching, playing by his own rules. And his game could be murder.


Debby said...

Interesting take on what to write. I can tell when the writer has that job.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting Roni today.

MomJane said...

I think you are absolutely right. Write about what you know a little, but fiction is called fiction for a reason. Research is also essential if you are writing about something you don't know. Sounds like you are on the right track.

marybelle said...

I think it would also have to be write what interests you.

I'm looking forward to reading more of Brynn.


Joanne said...

I think I'd want to research flowers. So many flowers have many different meanings. I don't know how I would get that into a book, but it would be fun to try. I've been following the tour and having a lot of fun. Thanks for the blog tour. Can't wait to read Crash Into You to see what happens between Reid and Brynn.


Unknown said...

I have absolutely no desire to write anything, lol. But I do love research! I would probably love to work with a writer that wanted research on psychology and what makes people do the things they do. I'm very interested in that =)

I've really enjoyed your tour, Roni. I'm sure you are quite exhausted! Almost done ;-)

Gena Robertson

Karen H in NC said...

Enjoyed the post today...very informative. I believe I also read someplace where an author should write the kind of stories they want to read...which makes sense to me too.

I'm not a writer and have no aspirations to be one but thinking back on the writing projects I had while in high school, sure could have used a computer with internet access back then. My life would have been so much easier, with less writer's cramp and less eye strain!

kareninnc at gmail dot com

Renald said...

Some of us are born to write and some of us just love to read. I'm a reader.

Catherine Lee said...

As a librarian, I love to read about how writers do their research. It seems like writers of erotica could have a lot of fun doing their research.


June M. said...

I am not a writer (don't have the talent) but I love to read. I always do the internal eye-roll when people just assume that because an author writes about something(sexual), they have done it. They don't expect those who write Sci-Fi to be aliens, Parnormals to be vamps, shifters, etc. But if you write sexy stories, you must live them (eye-roll). I do like learning about how authors research their books though. Especially for something they are not familiar with, or settings they have not been to.
Congrats on the release!

hregtvedt said...

I have the desire to be a writer, but not the organization at the moment. My goal for 2012 is to change all of that and FINISH something. At the same time I am a huge reader and I expect that will never change!

Can't wait to read this book. It is way our of my comfort zone, but when it is in a book, I find it attractive and thrilling!

Heather E

Cathy M said...

Interesting post. I am a reader only, and love the behind the scenes scoop.

caity_mack at yahoo dot com