Write What You Know

Today’s post features a guest post by A.E. Albert, author of The Time Sphere.

From Amazon’s product description:

the time sphere cover

What if you discovered an amazing secret, a secret that led you on an adventure to save the world and perhaps…yourself?

Billy Townsend, a thirteen year old boy who has lived in a group home his entire life. He has no family, no friends, and is bullied everyday by muscled bound morons who have it better than him. Well, that’s what Billy thinks at least. His life is a constant upheaval of new towns, new houses and new people. The only thing that stays the same is the nagging loneliness that follows him everywhere.

Billy’s world is forever changed when he meets a mysterious stranger. He must now journey through time, fighting his way to the future. As he learns to use his wits and together with new found friends, he finds the strength to meet the challenges set before him. However, Billy soon discovers that his greatest challenge to face is himself.

Buy The Time Sphere on Amazon.

Write What You Know

When I sat down and made the decision to write a book, I looked down at a clean white sheet of paper and asked myself, what do I write about?  I grew up watching the Anne of Green Gables movies, until I finally read the series in my twenties.

One of my favorite scenes is when Gilbert looks at the stubborn and uncompromising Anne and dares to criticize her work.  He then challenges her to write what she knew about, be inspired by people and events around her.  This line had always stayed with me, even before I had ever thought about writing myself.

The trouble was I knew I wanted to write within the sci-fi/fantasy genre.  I also have a love of history and traveling and knew that they needed a place somewhere in my book.  So I took a little sci-fi and little history and came up with a time travel story.

But as every reader and writer alike knows, great characters are the heart of every tale.  Character development is my personal favorite aspect to a story.  I knew I needed characters that were gripping, real and who could grow.  At this point, I began to chew my lip and stare far too long at my pad of paper.  Suddenly, the words of Gilbert materialized in my mind.  Write what you know.

I have been a Child and youth Worker for almost 15 years.  I had been employed in numerous group homes and currently help children with special needs.  I have worked with many wonderful children throughout my career who have faced many challenges and adversities.  Yet, through it all, they managed to laugh, learn and add something special to my own life.  I knew in an instant that my protagonist was a child of social services.

Billy journeys through time, fights deadly foes and faces seemingly unbeatable odds.  Yet, his insecurities and are his greatest hurdle.  These personal challenges he must confront are directly intertwined with the plot and its exciting end.

Write what you know.  Following this advice gave me an empathic view of my characters.  I don’t just mean compassion, there’s more to empathy than that.  I mean being able to understand their decisions and know what path they will take.  You know what they will say and how they say it.  It’s as though your characters are writing your story and you are but an instrument of this endeavor.

Thanks Gilbert.

About A. E. Albert:

aeprofile pic-cropThank you for taking the time to read about me. As you probably have already guessed, I’m a first time novelist. I love reading, writing, travelling, history, science and a many more interesting (or not!) subjects. Of course, these interests don’t separate me from the majority of the population and my hobbies are quite generic. I thought I’d just get that part out of the way. But I’d like to tell you why I have embarked on this journey. For most of my adult life, I worked as a Child and Youth Worker in residential group homes and in the school board. I’ve worked and cared for many children like the ones described in my book. I’ve always felt that these children have been misrepresented and misunderstood. I decided to write about what I knew and so I created a character that lived in the social services system. Through humor and the occasional tear, I attempted to inform the reader what it is really like for the children of foster care and perhaps, to send a message to these special children that there is always hope. So, I decided to take my work experience, love of adventure novels and natural creative talent to write my book. The truth is, I began this endeavour simply as a hobby and a means to divert my mind from my very stressful job. I’ve always been an avid reader but didn’t believe that to mean that I was a writer myself. I simply decided to write a novel that I would enjoy reading. However, as I began my journey into the written world, I discovered a passion that I didn’t know existed. Writing this work was the most difficult, yet the most exhilarating experience of my life.

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