Write What You Know… and Fix What You Don’t

I have written an article about the city and events in Las Vegas.  It is set a bit into the future, but it is about to be published.  I am quite pleased with it. It was simple to write and it would make me some money, and yet….

It was a bit complex. I know about Las Vegas, and the casinos are believable in my writing.  There is one problem about it.  I could not put my finger on it.  it seemed okay and the editor said it sounded good, but I still couldn’t figure out what was wrong.

Write what you know… I made a mistake, but not some things I just can not make mistakes on.  The article needed to be published.  It needed to be published soon, in fact I had a deadline to met and this didn’t help my challenge.

I let one of my friends read it, as he was the one who wanted me to write this in the first place. I wrote about Texas hold’em, game and it was not correct. So off to some web research. I had to be as passionate about my research as I was about how my writing sounded to my potential readers.  If I wanted to say I was a confident and passionate writer I needed to prove it.

I did find a good blog and that explained everything to me about the idea of hold’em poker. The hints added much to the story, in part because it was more believable. I also researched the history of poker so I wouldn’t make another mistake.

Trust me, between all of these I will not. The tips by far have me more information than I could possibly use, but mind you my character needed the game to be correct.  There will always be a reader who knows a game, and they will write some irate reviews on that.

With in one of these sites I found exactly what I needed. There were a number of articles about the game and I could take the time to read them. It was great. Easy to read and even better for a writer.

My Question for you today is this: When you write what you know it’s easy, but if there is something written that isn’t correct how do you fix it.  This hold true when you write a blog or anything else.


  • Alissa

    Sometimes when I'm writing something I'll get to an area where I'm not sure of some details. I don't want to stop my flow to do some research. I usually just add a note to myself within the text and keep going. Between the library, the internet and occasionally an expert I am lucky enough to know, I can usually fill in the details later.

  • Chiismychi

    Like Alissa said, I make a note right there where I need it, but I make sure it stands out. I might bracket it many times, use several paragraph breaks between or make it bold. Whatever it takes to see it clearly, as I have been known to send it along with my note in it if it isn't shouting at me. Hopefully any error I make I catch before I am done, but if I have to, I publish an errata.

  • Uninvoked

    OMG Chiismychi! How embarrassing. I die every time I send a query out and later discover a typo/grammar error. I can't imagine sending out a manuscript with author notes still inside. :$

  • JS

    Rebecca when you say "if there is something that isn't correct, I guess by "something' you mean the facts, figures and details that find a mention in the text we write.

    So assuming you mean exactly that, I would like to quote what my writing teacher once told: "sit on a base that fits your ass or else you have to compromise your comfort."

    What he meant by that was (1) choose your subject cautiously, try to choose one which you are familiar with just like your right hand. (2) If you want to tread unknown territory, then prepare an outline of what you want to write and do an R&D based on that outline, collect the factual information before actually starting to write.

    But as he was about to leave the classroom, he said, "Wait journos. I have an addition to make. NEVER STOP YOURSELF FROM TRYING NEW SUBJECTS, BUT DON'T WRITE WHILE SITTING ON YOUR HAUNCHES. IF YOU WANT TO TRY NEW AREAS, YOU HAVE TO GET UP."

  • Aaron Peng

    Indeed, write what you know and fix what you don't. If you're writing about Las Vegas, you should definitely know a bit about Casinos and the hottest Poker game out there right now – Texas Hold'em.

    You should play a few games to get a hang of it and test the tips on the site as well 🙂