Living Vicariously Through your Own Books

I’d just like to say what a fantastic idea my current ghostwriting clients had, in writing this book. The idea of their book is simply–what if we had lead a more exciting life? What if we had taken the freedom and creativity and energy of our youth and continued to live that way forever? In this case, the book is about the what if? of becoming bank robbers. For them, that’s the fantasy of the best life ever. Of course, because this is a fictional book, we get to make that life perfect and fun in every way. More fun than it would have been in real life, naturally, because not only is this book an escape for the readers, but also for the writers.

People say “write what you know,” but I disagree. Sort of. I mean, yeah, write the people you know and the places you know, because the intimacy you have with real people and places is just going to make a more interesting story, usually, than anything you could invent. Real people and places embody that truth is stranger than fiction element that helps ground the story in believability. Even if you write science fiction and your story happens on in an upside-down world beyond time and space, there will probably still be a lot of elements of that world that remind you of people and places you know. And this is as it should be. Ultimately, every story is about conflicts and relationships, and you can only write about the types of conflicts and relationships you have personally seen or experiences.

But if you want to live vicariously through your books, real life just isn’t interesting enough to keep the plot line of your book too close to reality. I say: write who and where you know, with a plot you wish you knew. That way, the conflicts and relationships, which are really the meat of the story, are something you recognize, something you are an expert in. You don’t have to work too hard to make those come to fruition. But on the surface, the plot of the story can be a fantasy. Live vicariously through your plot! Enjoy it! Be a bank robber, be an an astrophysicist, be a starving artist, be a world-class chef, be a philosopher, be a student of life, be beautiful, be ugly, be a dog, be a fish. I mean, really, that’s why we write, isn’t it?

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