People say that you should write what you know, and there’s real merit in that. The only thing is, what if you are yearning to craft a whole new world, writing sci-fi or fantasy fiction, how can you write what you know then? Well, you would actually be surprised as once you start planning, researching and writing your book, it may be possible to still write what you know, whilst putting a different spin on it.
Reality vs. fantasy
We know our world, we inhabit it daily. But this does not have to mean that we don’t ‘know’ other worlds that we can base our stories around. This is where reality versus fantasy comes in, as writing what you know need not mean your actual life. How many of us can clearly picture a life at Hogwarts or drinking in the Cantina bar? Once you take into account all that you ‘know’ from the TV, films, comics and books that you read, there is huge scope here to adapt a variety of realities into your own piece of original work.
Current pop culture references
There is a risk with including pop culture in your book as it can instantly date it if it is read at a later time. That can sometimes work in its favour, though, as it will bring to life the pop culture around your book’s characters, allowing some readers a trip down memory lane and others might enjoy being introduced to some new entertainment or tech that they hadn’t heard of. There is nothing wrong with mixing up our current culture with another universe or a different time, it can make for interesting twists and character developments. Referencing the big finale of Game of Thrones, talking about the latest SMARTY Mobile or having your characters playing Resident Evil 2 will instantly resonate with some readers, and as such it can be fun to play around with themes like this within your fantasy fiction. Think Star-Lord and his love of human eighties music and you have got the right idea, a perfect example of blending the known and the unknown to help readers to connect with the character.
People are people
OK, so your book might not have human beings from earth in it, but people are still people. When you work on your character development, you will create protagonists, antagonists and a whole array of supporting characters and each and every one of them can be based on people that you know. The fact that they have blue skin or tentacles is an extra layer to that character, it is not all that they are. As such, you can create your world as above, add in fun cultural twists to help readers connect, and then work on making those characters come to life and really leap off the page. It is the characters in fantasy fiction that need to be wholly believable as your reader already has so many alternative realities to grapple with, so they must at least be able to relate to and understand your characters. This is something that can often make or break fantasy novels as writers spend so long creating, crafting and describing a new universe to us that they neglect to bring the people inhabiting it to life.