I'm at CrimeBake this weekend, one of my favorite conferences. It's well run, the writers are deliciously tasty (chum!) and I like the hotel bar (a lot!)
My usual plan at CrimeBake is to hang out in the bar and see what brave writers swim into view. Yesterday was no exception.
Writer: I'd like to talk to you about my novel.
Me: Dive in, I'm glad to hear about it.
Writer then regales me for three minutes about a novel that could be written by anybody, and is clearly based on his professional experience as a successful executive in an industry that many of us might consider less than enthralling.
some segue chitchat then:
Me: I can't help but notice your wristwatch. Is it for sailing?
Writer: No, it's about... then proceeds for three minutes on a topic that IS enthralling, full of tension, intrigue and historical anecdotes.
Me: So, why aren't you writing about that?
If there's an object lesson here, it's this: Writers hear "write what you know" and a lot of people who are starting to write take that to heart and write novels that are thinly disguised renditions of their workplace and the people they'd like to murder there.
I'd like to offer up this alternative: write what you're passionate about. It's your passion that I'm interested in.