As a relatively new writer, I’m a big advocate of using what you know to add reality to your fiction. Using places you’ve been, and situations you’ve been in, gives a feeling of authenticity that fabrication doesn’t.
Sitting in a donut shop yesterday, I was plotting out a section of “Blood Soaked and Gone” that will probably lead up to, if not become, the climax of the novel. The setting appeared in my head, maybe because I dreamed of the Acme grocery store in my home town the night before, and it was completely different from what I’d originally planned. (Hell, I’ve left digital footprints all over the place, hunting for information about secret government bases. Hi, NSA!) I spontaneously decided to use someplace I know.
The more I thought about it, the more sense it made. I’m not going to tell you WHY, but if you’ve read “Blood Soaked and Invaded” you’ll probably understand.
I can’t tell you how many times I drove across that 4.1 mile stretch of elevated highway over the years. I have so many memories attached to all that concrete and steel, and I know they’ll come out in what I write. That’s why I’m doing it—using what I know and a place that I know.
It is why you, as a writer, should try writing something set in a familiar place that has emotional attachment for you. You’ll be amazed at what your words communicate to your readers.