@Archaeolibrary, @GoddessFish, @Owlworks,
“There are only two types of aircraft: fighters and targets.”
~Doyle ‘Wahoo’ Nicholson, USMC
Sweating it out in the former Belgian Congo as a civil war mercenary, with Sparks turning wrenches on his T-6 Texan, Hawk splits his time flying combat missions and, back on the ground, sparring with Ella, an attractive young missionary doctor, in the sequel to My Brother’s Keeper.
He looked at me.
“What is wrong?”
“Do you know what they did?”
“Who is they?”
“The Simbas. Up north. In Stanleyville.”
I shook my head.
He nodded his head quickly up and down. “You would not think that—you know, the cruelty of it all.”
“What did they do?”
“Well, you know they have several hundred prisoners up there and they are threatening to kill them all if the government forces come.”
“And we’re going, right?”
“Oh, yes. Oh, yes. You will hear about it tomorrow.”
“But what did they do?” I asked.
“The Simbas? They are—“ He stood up.
“Eric.” I stood up and grabbed his shoulder. “What is going on?”
Eric slowly sat back down. “It was the mayor.”
“And the mayor there, Bond…Bondess…Bondekwe or something. I don’t know, but they stripped him down completely naked and stood him up in front of a mad, mad crowd of rebels.”
I waited. “And?”
Eric shook his head.
“And they carved his liver out—while he was still alive.”
I could feel my face squint in repulsion.
“Yes, while he was still alive.”
“Then they cut it up while it was still hot and—and—and they ate it in front of him as he died.”
I sat down at the end of my cot. “Jesus.”
“Yes, damn it—Jesus Christ, already. Yes, right in front of him. While he watched them and died…”
Do you agree with the adage “Write what you know”
I’m not a doctor and I’m not a lawyer—and I’ve never played one on TV or even stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night. So, when you throw money my way for one of my novels, you are paying me to lie.
When people tell me, “Hey, you should write what you know,” I roll my eyes. It’s not history. It’s not biography. It’s not science. It is fiction:
fic·tion (fĭk′shən) n. 1. The category of literature, drama, film, or other creative work whose content is imagined and is not necessarily based on fact; 2. Narrative, explanatory material, or belief that is not true or has been imagined or fabricated.
I know about making noise with a Stratocaster and my Blues Junior. As a Commercial Pilot and Certified Flight Instructor, I know about getting airplanes off and back on the ground. Beyond that, I’ve got nothing. Pretty thin gruel for coming up with a lot of stories.
If all you do is “write what you know,” then how does Arthur C. Clarke come up with 2001: A Space Odyssey? How does Isaac Asimov come up with Foundation? How does George Lucas come up with Star Wars? Come on, man!
Instead of “write what you know,” I am all in with fellow novelist and self-proclaimed ne'er-do-well Jay Spencer Green who believes you should know what you write. He says, “Find a subject that intrigues you or that appears to present possibilities for a plot, and research it until you know it inside out.’
I’ve never been a police officer, but I’ll bet I’ve watched enough Law and Order and Blue Bloods episodes to meet the requirements of a 1000 hour Police Academy Course and have probably sat in the gallery for enough court scenes to count for my first year of law school.
Hollywood in 1950 was long before my time (My Brother’s Keeper). I’ve never been a young girl in high school (Lodging). I’ve never been a Navy SEAL (Article 15). Never been to Alaska (Somethin’ for Nothin’) or to the congo rain forests (Jungleland). And I’ve never met a murderous robotic synthoid (Murder by Munchausen). But if it’s important to your story, you figure it out.
Thank God for the Internet.
The one thing, though, that all of the best writers do know about is human nature. Go back to the Star Wars trailer: “The story of a boy, a girl, and a universe.”
That’s really what it’s all about.
So, hopefully, when I do lie to you, it will be in a much more truthful way than any politician.
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M.T. Bass is a scribbler of fiction who holds fast to the notion that while victors may get to write history, novelists get to write/right reality. He lives, writes, flies and makes music in Mudcat Falls, USA.
Born in Athens, Ohio, M.T. Bass grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University, majoring in English and Philosophy, then worked in the private sector (where they expect “results”) mainly in the Aerospace & Defense manufacturing market. During those years, Bass continued to write fiction. He is the author of eight novels: My Brother’s Keeper, Crossroads, In the Black, Somethin’ for Nothin’, Murder by Munchausen, The Darknet (Murder by Munchausen Mystery #2), The Invisible Mind (Murder by Munchausen Mystery #3) and Article 15. His writing spans various genres, including Mystery, Adventure, Romance, Black Comedy and TechnoThrillers. A Commercial Pilot and Certified Flight Instructor, airplanes and pilots are featured in many of his stories. Bass currently lives on the shores of Lake Erie near Lorain, Ohio.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/mtbass