I'm currently brain storming some ideas for my next writing project, but there is something I'm struggling with. A lot of ideas I get, I'm reluctant to use because I have no real world experience with them. For instance, I might feel kind of funny to try telling a war story, even though I've never been in the armed forces or in war. I can't relate to what its like for a soldier to be on patrol, or to go through basic training, or be a POW, etc. So it almost seems wrong to try to write about something like that and expect to be taken seriously. I could do massive amounts of research, and try to achieve a level of believability or authenticity to get around this problem. I'm not averse to that, but then how much time do you devote to researching the subject matter VS actually writing? I've heard some writers researching their stories for up to a year or longer. Since I'm writing just for fun, and have no plans on publishing anything at the moment (and I have a lot of life stuff to do outside of writing) this wouldn't be very practical for me. In my own attempt to resolve the issue, I thought for some reason of Star Wars. Star Wars obviously tells a war story. There are soldiers, battles, death, etc. Lucas couldn't have researched how a blaster works, or how accurately Greedo spoke his alien lines in the famous bar scene with Han. Its pure fantasy, and appreciated at that level. Lucas is never called out for depicting war without having any military experience. (According to wiki, he was drafted for Vietnam but got out due to diabetes.) So how about this rule: The extent to which a writer's credibility is questioned should be equivalent to the seriousness of the story being told. So if I write a story on the sophistication level of a G.I. Joe cartoon, maybe I could be forgiven if I don't get all the details right, or I'm describing a battle that evokes a feeling of playing in a first person shooter level. But, if I tell a story about one soldier's experience fighting in Afghanistan, then I better be willing to do a ton of research, or maybe be extremely vague in some areas? I don't know. What do you think?