By all means, write what you know. Look at the world around you: take off the blinders, step out of your own mind, catch glimpses of lives as utterly unique and unknowable as the mysteries of the ages. Never stop learning, never stop growing, and never stop using every lesson in your writing. Take this vibrant life given to you and use it; soak it in and pour it out with every ounce of talent God has given you, and then hone your skill to do it even better. This is vital. There is nothing new under the sun, and no story worth telling doesn’t have aspects of truth and reality. But don’t let that chain you to this broken ground.
Someone asked me a while ago why I’m drawn to fantasy, why I write about dragons and faeries instead of what’s right in front of me. Why don’t I write what I know best? And I answered in my usual stumbling way, unsure how to explain. How can I let someone into my mind in that way, to be inspired as I am and to see the stories I find? How can I explain that what I know best isn’t this earth? It’s not New Mexico, the wild southwest. Yes, I know that. Yes, it obviously influences me. But I also know that the world Agon has three major continents, that there are people there gifted by the Creator in marvelous ways. I know the faces of dozens of citizens. I know their hopes, their heartaches, their fears. I know that they face a battle not unlike one we face every day. I know that there is more to this world than what we see, and who’s to say what it is? I know that in the beauty of God’s creation could be hidden the legends and creatures we learn as children, alive and real. I know that sometimes life’s hardest lessons and greatest joys are best communicated within a world unfamiliar, by a character who is a stranger and yet more a part of you than you can even explain. I know that sometimes it takes a tale too fantastic for our reality to touch a heart hardened by the stories of our everyday. I know that sometimes it takes what most see as an unknown to reveal the most known and often denied. And if God has given me these worlds, these people, these stories to know, who’s to say that I’m not writing from experience?
Because writing fiction and fantasy isn’t ignoring truth. It’s using possibility itself to reveal truth. It’s looking at the creation around us and seeing what could be, what these thousands of stories and lives might look like in another world. That is the heart and purpose of what I do. The truth is, God has implanted a wonder and passion for unknown possibility so deeply within me that I can’t imagine not writing fantasy. Dragons, faeries, wielders, hearts of stone…and truth. Always truth.