By Jessica R. Patch
As a writer, you may hear “write what you know” often. If I took that advice, I wouldn’t have a single book published. But I do believe that we should balance writing what we know with what we don’t. Here are three tips you can use to help create an experience for a reader rather than simply giving them a good story.
1. Write what you don’t know.
What interests you? For me, it’s law enforcement. But I don’t know a lot about that because I’ve never been in law enforcement. Research online. Talk to people in that profession and ask questions, not only about procedure, but about how they feel about their jobs. What are their struggles? Their strengths? Use that in your character development. If you aren’t published, don’t be afraid to make contacts. I can remember thinking to myself that no one would want to talk to me because I wasn’t a published author. People would think I was a joke. What I found out was people are always willing and even excited to help you with a novel, even if you aren’t published yet. Just remember to acknowledge them, and send them a little thank you card or something sweet for sharing their time.
2. Write what you do know.
In my newest release, Final Verdict, I used a real life (tweaked for this particular story) experience that happened in our family, when a loved one was killed by a teenage drunk driver. I know how that felt in our family and for me personally. All the array of emotions were bled on the pages of this story.
3. Write to explore.
In this book, I wanted to explore the question: How can a Christian defend criminals? I wasn’t sure where I stood on this, but I needed to know. Of course, I referred back to tip #1 but I also had to ponder and explore the Bible…and my heart on this subject. Ultimately, Final Verdict ended up being a story of great mercy, grace, and forgiveness. I changed on some of the stances I had prior to writing. And while I struggled and wondered, my characters did too.
Readers probably have some of the same questions about life and the world that you do, and through exploring something you wrestle with or want an answer to, writing what you do and do not know, you can help them (and yourself) see a new perspective, or solidify what they already believe and that’s an experience—that’s something they’ll remember. It’s more than an enjoyable few hours, and as writers that’s what we want.
Final Verdict blurb:
When Aurora Daniels becomes the target of someone seeking their own twisted justice, Sheriff Beckett Marsh is the only one who can rescue her. As a public defender, Aurora has angered plenty of people in town—and in her past. And while Beckett constantly clashes with the feisty lawyer professionally, it’s his duty to protect and serve. Guarding her 24/7 is now his sole assignment. He may not have been able to save his fiancée from a dangerous felon, but he’ll do whatever it takes to keep Aurora alive. Even if working with her to catch and convict this ruthless killer puts his heart in the crosshairs.
Jessica R. Patch writes inspirational contemporary romance and romantic suspense. She is the author of the Seasons of Hope series and several Love Inspired Suspense novels including, Fatal Reunion, Protective Duty, Concealed Identity, and Final Verdict. When she’s not hunched over her laptop or going on adventurous trips in the name of research with willing friends, you can find her spending time with her family and collecting recipes to amazing dishes she’ll probably never cook. Jessica is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Management.