Right. The answer to that is always research.
But there are so many things that even research can’t manage. How do we ever know what it is to ride a dragon or to travel through space on a generation ship?
It’s something about writing what I love. I love the impossible, the improbable, and the things I may never see in my lifetime. Those are the things I want to write. Those are the stories I see in my head and pester me until I put them down.
A man in my book club asked why writers write post-apocalyptic stories. The best answer from the other writer in the room gave was the idea that humans adapt and overcome the end.
I’m surprised he didn’t ask about dystopias, because I’ve been reading a ton of those lately. Those are also stories where people rise above their circumstances. It’s where the imagination takes us, and each story shows something that might happen – whether the society as we know it becomes problematic like a dystopia or collapses and needs to be rebuilt like a post-apocalyptic.
Sometimes I start to wonder about these not-real, not-true things, how we can be experts and write what we know about them. And yet, if we spend enough time in our imaginations, how can we not know them?
Dragons have been my favorite animal for nearly as long as I can remember. I don’t write them often, but I love to read a good dragon story. When my mother was tasked in her poetry class with creating a poem from a dragon’s POV, she called me. I’m thrilled to be the dragon expert in the family, and it didn’t take long until the dragons poured out in a story.
My next journey is among the stars. Sometimes my evil inner editor tells me we don’t see those stories lately, so they’re out of vogue. And yet- it’s what I love, so I must follow.