What do you or I really know? Our own experiences may be limited. However, add research to a fertile imagination and it will go a long way.
Take Sci-fi for instance. Isaac Asimov had never lived in a world filled with robots. His knowledge at the time, imagination, and gift for story telling made up for that. He used the human experience of which he was very familiar and created stories we relate to.
Whether futuristic sci-fi or historical, fantasy or our own era, a good story with believable characters, a little (or a lot) of angst and/or mystery and we have a recipe for success.
Not perhaps as simplistic as that of course or there would not be a need for beta readers and editors. What may sound great in our own mind and look good to our own eye, may not work at all for someone else.
The saying: “you can’t please all of the people all of the time” by Abraham Lincoln, says it all.
Not everyone will read War and Peace, Gone with the Wind, Pride and Prejudice etc. Not everyone who reads them will like them either.
I guess that is why the wise man Solomon wrote, “to the making of books there is no end.” Manuals and encyclopedias are always being updated. Storytelling of the human experience is constantly being told in a new way.
E-publishing is causing a veritable explosion to the ‘making of books’ and though most will not make the best seller list, the playing field has been somewhat levelled. More power is being given the reader to choose what to read.
So, perhaps we don’t know everything about that which we write, however if we love our subject matter it comes through to the reader. Passion trumps detail, creating engaging, thought provoking, endearing stories that readers will want to fall into.
May story telling never end.