This month I’m almost exactly 26.2 years old. I’ve achieved a marathon in years lived, and what do I have to show for it? A lot of experiences worth writing about, that’s for sure! On June 19th, 2010 I ran Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN. It was my first marathon (still my only marathon) and it was a big achievement for me. I was not the athletic type until I got it into my head that this was something I wanted to do.

Before the marathon. Its 5 am and I’m excited!

My inspiration to undertake the challenge of running 26.2 miles was to experience the hardship of training. One of my philosophies when writing is to write about things I have experienced. At that time, I had several chapters in my novel (an earlier version of Flight) where a main character was forced to travel a long distance on foot. Well, how else could I know what that would actually be like except by doing something similar?

After the marathon. Tired, tangled hair, but happy.

As fantasy writers we have to creatively draw on our life experiences in order to translate them into another world’s physics, rules, and biological ecosystems. For example, you could draw on your experience of driving a car with the windows rolled down when you write a description of how it feels to ride dragon-back.

In “Flight” I have an entire species of winged peoples, and describing their flying point of view is a challenge. When I’m flying (via plane of course) I always try to capture my feelings, both physical and mental, so I can utilize them later. Maybe someday I’ll even try hang-gliding.

Is there something you do (or have done) specifically to gain the experience for writing? Please share your ideas!


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