Yes, we're still talking about writing what you know. No, I'm not sorry.
If you've listened to this week's episode, you know that we talk about research filling in the blanks for what you don't know. I cannot stress this enough. You're an English teacher who wants to write about an astrophysicist? Research! Google is a great place to start, but it's not the only place.
Talk to people who have the experiences you want to write about.
Read personal blogs and websites from folks who do what your character does.
Go to the library and check out some books on the topics you need.
Shadow someone for a day, if you can.
Seriously. Research is actually one of my favorite parts of writing fiction (weird, I know). I can learn so much looking up something for a story; it's like being an eternal college student without the grades and debt hanging over my head. In other words, it's awesome.
This goes for everything, from careers to injuries to writing a diverse cast. Do your research.
But don't get bogged down in it! I once made the mistake of getting so caught up in the research for an historical fantasy that the piece never got written. It's a fine balance between creativity and research, and you have to find what works for you and your process.
Now, get out there and learn something new so you can write about it!
Emily is a huge fan of writing outside her own experiences (and not just because it means she gets to research more). She also loves writing things with diverse and crazy casts, to the point where she sometimes has entirely too many characters.
She's starting a new serial novel at emilykaysinger.com on Mondays, thanks to Michelle's prodding, and also posts normal things there on Wednesdays. Otherwise, find her on Twitter: @emilyksinger