Friday, February 9, 2018

Write What You Know by Rita Karnopp

Write What You Know by Rita Karnopp. Some of the best advice I’ve ever received in my writing career is to ‘write what you know.’  Writers can’t help but draw from their own life’s experiences when developing stories.  This enriches and deepens the believability of our characters.
A writer improves with each book, and so does their ability to reach deeper inside themselves to pull out those personal life experiences through the actions of their characters. By allowing our characters to experience our very own emotional roller-coasters or hurtful experiences … we bring our reader in … and they will sense the honesty and vulnerability of your characters.
It was through writing that I realized I was drawn to the Native American’s way of life and traditions.  I’ve always felt the eighteen hundreds through the Native American’s point of view.  In sharing that epiphany with my sister, she revealed, “That’s because our great grandmother was Chippewa Cree from Wisconsin.”  Say what?
I had no idea … and so developed my love for writing the Native inspired story; whether 1800s or 2020.  Because I live in Montana … I turned my attention to the Blackfeet; the most feared Indian nation on the Northern Plains in the nineteenth century.
Through extensive research I found I could draw on those life experiences of true Native people who participated in the changes that ripped their lives and culture apart … and their struggles to survive. 
I believe writers should ‘write what you know’. But, it’s equally important to ‘write who you know.’ Every character you create should have a reason for existing … and a reason they are who they’ve become. 

History gives us an opportunity to create believable characters.  I found a sketch showing Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens and James Doty, Secretary to Stevens, and Little Dog, who served as an interpreter, plus various Blackfoot tribes (Piegan and Blood), the Flathead, Nez Perce, Gros Ventre, Kootenai, Pend d’Oreille, Cree, and Shoshone at the Judith River, for the signing of the Blackfeet’s first treaty with the United States. This was the inspiration I needed to write Leota, Dream Woman, who believed it was her mission to stop Chief Lame Bull from signing the Treaty of 1855.  The white berry from the red willow was bitter and even though it was used as a kind of enriched vitamin for the Native, the white man found it bitter and undesirable.”
That grabbed me … the ‘white berry’ could be my white woman and the ‘red willow’ could represent the Indian Nation … and so my book White Berry on the Red Willow developed.  History is a world of captivating stories of ‘what ifs’, and by writing them we bring characters to life.  We give them air between the pages of an exciting life’s journey.

Check out my latest novel, OFF THE GRID, a YA that is for readers thirteen to ninety-three.

 Living in the woods, surrounded by nature, is a fantasy of those living within the unethical confines of society. But when you’re seventeen, even thinking about walking through the woods conjures up ghastly visions.

Taylar must forgive her father’s intentional betrayal of bringing her family to live in the remote Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana. Hundreds of miles from civilization, she must put aside her fears and do her part to help her family survive the challenges of dense wilderness, mountain lions, bear, rattlesnakes, and the worst animal of all – man.
Will their father realize that their neighbors aren’t what they appear to be . . . before it’s too late? Will her almost sixteen-year-old sister, Brook, who loves hunting and nature, have what it takes to guide them out of the untamed wilderness and back to civilization?


Rita Karnopp is a fun-loving, imaginative, creator of stories that take you away . . . until you close the book. Versatile, she writes Indian historicals, suspense, thrillers, futuristic, YAs and a trilogy about the Gypsies during the Holocaust.

When not writing, Rita enjoys the Montana outdoors with her husband, Dennis, her Cockapoo, Gema, children & grandchildren, RVing with new camper, crystal digging and gold panning. 

Please visit Rita at Amazon page:  

BWL Publishing Inc.

Email Rita at:

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