Writing 101 – What You Already Know {Guest Post from Jolyn Palliata}

Imagine yourself sitting down to write your first book. Go ahead—close your eyes and picture it. Er…or close one eye and picture it (so you can keep reading this post). You already have an idea forming, or else you wouldn’t be sitting there with your breath held and fingers poised, twitching restlessly over the keyboard. But where to start? Well, first you need a setting. What are you picturing in your head right now? Now think about your protagonist (AKA: your main character). What is he/she like? What are his/her quirks? When writing their first book, most authors will write what they know. Is that where your thoughts went? Was the setting some place you were familiar with? Was your protag similar to…oh, let’s say…you?

I’ve written five books to date, but Amber Eyes (Entwined Souls Trilogy—Book One) was my first, and, therefore, the most sentimental for the exact reason I illustrated above: I wrote about what I knew.

Lexi is roughly based off me (yes, I tend to burn myself when cooking a pizza), but with some differences (I don’t have many irrational fears, and I’ve never played the flute). I do have a passion in discovering ancient monuments and historical landmarks, and delving into their tragic and/or heroic histories (which is relayed in her memories). And would you believe Lex and I went the same high school, had the same after-school job, car, house, and bedroom? We even grew up in the same city (Oshkosh, WI), and shared the same favorite places: the peninsula in the lake, and the music store downtown (though I renamed it).

While writing Amber Eyes I was able to live out a daydream and embed it in reality. And by lending a semblance of truth, I was able to relay that fantasy seamlessly to my readers. In the books I’ve written since, I no longer have to do this—I now know how to create “real” settings I’ve never laid eyes on (except in my imagination). Which, of course, has opened a whole new world for the remaining two books in the Entwined Souls Trilogy as I transverse the various planes of existence, and create alternate realities. And how fun is that?!

Now, getting back to my original question… If you were to start writing a book today, what would the setting be? How do you picture your protag? Is he/she familiar? Look in the mirror. How about now?

A very special thanks to Jolyn Palliata, a good friend thanks to this blog tour, for writing this guest post.  


  1. says

    Great post! When I write my books my female MC is like me, but I also give her characteristics that I wish I had (straight long hair, she’s tall, and she has confidance in things I don’t). I write about places and things I know which makes it easier — I could spend hours researching and not writing.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • says

      Hi Isabella!
      I totally know what you mean by giving your MC attributes you wish you had. I mean, if you’re going to be in the story, why not make it a super-charged version of yourself! That makes the writing that much more fun!
      And yes…the research gets tiresome, but sometimes it can trigger some really great ideas. 😀
      Thanks for stopping by! Glad you enjoyed the post!

  2. says

    Thanks for sharing, Jolyn! This was a great & fun post!

    (I’m gonna have to go re-read Amber Eyes so I can find something in Lexi to poke fun of you with …Jk! Lol 😉 )

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