What's the biggest piece of crap writing advice handed out by every idiot with an opinion?
Write what you know.
What bullshit. If you follow that raggedy-assed advice you'll write one book, over and over, like Sue Grafton.
Sorry, that was a cheap shot. I'm a little crabby this morning.
One of the joys of writing is learning a bunch of stuff that you never knew before. I've learned how to suture wounds, book a felon, sail a boat, make C4 from household ingredients, hotwire a car, pick a lock, survive a fall, play piano, process a crime scene, and kill a man.
OK, my wife taught me how to kill a man, but the other skills are all things I learned from writing books. If I only wrote what I knew, there would be mayhem with the lawn mower, murder in the snack room, and blood behind the bar, all good things, don't get me wrong, but they would lose their luster after six or seven books.
For this screenplay I'm writing, I have to learn about golf (you were wondering how this tied into the picture, weren't you?) and, as someone who hasn't swung a mashie since LBJ was in office, I'll have to become familiar with the lingo of the links. Yes, I'd rather study blood spatter, but learning about golf has one distinct advantage: I'm getting paid.
What about you? What new and fascinating thing have you learned in your publishing career?