As an author of more than twenty books, I am often asked, “How do you write a book? Or more specifically, how do you write a novel?”
This is an interesting question, but not one that can be easily answered. The obvious, and common response is to “Just start writing.” And, of course, “Write about what you know.”
But, I suspect the question is as much about the mechanics of writing as it is about the philosophy. When I write non-fiction, I absolutely write about what I know and where I am a recognized expert on that subject matter.
However, fiction is a different matter entirely. Since fiction, by definition, is ‘made up’, how can you possibly write with knowledge about it? The simple answer is that you cannot. But, do not lose hope. With fiction, you define the world that your characters operate in and what rules govern their actions, so in that respect, you are the ultimate expert.
Some schools of thought require that the writer develop a full outline, character profiles, and relationship matrix before writing a single sentence.
I use a different approach.