Writers are commonly taught to write what they know, but in recent years that’s been held up as the reason why we’ve been constantly innudated with stories of white cishet male protagonists. These stories are certainly still meaningful and approachable, but the white cishet male experience isn’t the only experience that counts as human. So, in an attempt to better representation and show that women and people of color are also part of the human experience, many writers are now doing their utmost to write what they don’t know.
But how to do research on experiences which are not your own? This doesn’t just apply to race and ethnicity—what if your character is Catholic but you yourself aren’t religious? What if your character has mental health issues, but you’ve always been pretty neurotypical? Books and other forms of academic research are a great first step. But as with most things, talking to a primary source—ie, a person who has actually lived the life experiences you’re trying to describe—is the best way to go about it. That’s where today’s web crush comes in.