I never would have dreamed that my life would turn out the way it has. When I was a kid, I loved reading anything I could lay my hands on. Sci-Fi, Fantasy, History, Biographies, Myths and Legends, Mysteries, Comics, Classic Literature, even fluffy little magazine articles. I found entertainment in many sources. To tell the truth, I saw little difference between Tom Swift Jr. books and H. G. Wells books, Doc Savage and Tom Sawyer, Dick Tracy and Little Women… But then I figured out that what I was interested in was adventure stories. The genre wasn’t very important to me. It was the adventure that counted.
As I grew a bit older, I discovered Ray Bradbury, Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein, Dumas, Poe, Lovecraft, Tolkien, Doyle… I also discovered that adventure could take many forms. Huck Finn’s raft was just as much fun as one of Thor Hyerdahl’s rafts. “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea” was just as much fun as “Run Silent, Run Deep.” Reading “Have Spacesuit, Will Travel” was just as much fun as watching Apollo 11 on TV had been. Walking around downtown London was as much fun as reading Sherlock Holmes stories.
Adventure takes many forms, both in fiction and in real life. Whatever grand experiences I have lived often find their way into a story I write later. The same can be said of any writer. “Write what you know” is old, sage advice given to struggling writers from ages past. We are all the sum of our experiences. Losing ourselves in a good book is just as much an experience as getting lost on a highway during a long trip. But forgive me if I choose to believe that the book will be more fun than the highway. Unless, of course, the highway adventure leads to something new I can drop into a story.
So beware of dismissing elements of someone’s story as things they just dreamed up. Perhaps so, but then again, perhaps they actually lived through something similar. Earlier, I said that we are the sum of our experiences. True enough, but we are each also greater than the sum of our pasts.
Well, that’s enough babbling. You need to go read!