The common refrain by writing teachers is "write what you know." And writers like Jane Austen did so brilliantly and with much success. Austen wrote about people residing in the English countryside, and Ernest Hemingway wrote about strong men and sports, but if that motto is true how did Stephanie Meyers write about vampires and werewolves for her Twilight novels and did J.K. Rowling ever attend a school for wizards? I work with odd people at the restaurant, but I don't think they suck blood or ride brooms. Hmmmm maybe a few of the servers could ride a broom.
It's important for writers to take leaps with their imaginations. My imagination needs help, so I try to step outside my office, even though it is quite pleasant and calm and safe, and meet new people like this fellow I met recently. His name is Enigma.
He has tattooed his body from head to toe. As we shook hands I said, "I've never met anyone like you." And that's true. As both a newspaper reporter and a waitress, I've met federal judges, farmers, strippers, and literary writers with fancy degrees but never a man who tattooed his body with tiny green puzzle pieces. His hands were as soft as a priest's. I've met priests, too. Anyway, if I was given the assignment to write this character, make the reader understand him, I would have to really use my imagination, step outside my social circle, my own background prejudices, and try to understand what makes this man tick. I think that's what writers need to do in order to make their characters real. I don't even have a tattoo (okay that's more information than you wanted to know) so I have to work at setting aside my personal judgments which can be a challenge when you happen across people who look like this.
Finally... I just have to add this photo for no other reason than to ask this question. How many of you can swallow an entire yellow balloon? Now there's something to imagine or perhaps aspire?