Top Eight Tips for Fiction Writers – A Guide

Well, well, well! You have stepped up to the plate and finally decided that you are going to write your own book! Well, you may be starting out, and everything might be going awry, but fear not, this little guide will help you and many other fiction writers to write their very own fiction book.

What is Fiction?

Before we provide the guidance of how to write fiction, we have to understand what fiction actually is.

Well, for one, fiction is a very loose umbrella term, and it encapsulates quite a lot of…well…fiction.

When it comes to fiction and fiction writers, it is mostly about the literature created from imagination. While fiction is not based on fact, it can be inspired from it. Some of the greatest and most lauded fictional stories are almost direct inspirations from history, real-world concepts, and even aspects that were predicted to come true later on.

True fiction writers, however, use science, fantasy, mystery, and fiction to tell stories that are fundamentally human. For example, the film Melancholia is a story about depression, despair, and guilt, but the plot and premise of the film is that another planet is going to collide with the Earth, ending life as we know it. The fiction is in the background, but it is there, and it elevates the human-centered story.

Eight Tips for Fiction Writers

A great tip for fiction writers is to look at both the fantasy element and grounded, realistic elements of fiction books. While books like Dune are definitely sci-fi and fiction, they still use elements from the real world to inspire the fiction itself. Stories such as 1984 and The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August are all fictional novels grounded in reality. Despite all the fiction, the stories at the center are all human.

Of course, every single fiction writer wants to write the greatest fiction novel ever written, to rival the likes of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep in concept, but also surpass The Lord of the Rings in terms of sales.

Success is Relative for Fiction Writers

Alas, we all have dreams of grandeur, so let us look towards something more manageable, and start off with eight tips that are reasonable enough for fiction writers to get a good grip in what they are going to be making.

Before that, though, it should be known that for any fiction writer, it is nearly impossible to immediately recognize good writing. While bad writing is more apparent, good writing is layered and hidden in meaning, and needs to be deciphered before it can be judged. That is why most fiction writers would love to say ‘don’t judge a book by its cover.’

Find Your Writing Process

It does not matter what genre you are in, but every single fiction writer (and writers in general), will tell you the importance of staying organized. Writing does not mean that you work on it day and night, but rather, work when you can, and when you are in your ‘flow.’

Finding how writing works within your daily routine is important, and even if you don’t have a daily routine for it, that is fine as well. You do you. Every fiction writer is different.

For any fiction writer, though, staying organized helps them avoid pitfalls and get through rough patches that hinder their writing flow. Getting published is never an easy thing for a fiction writer, and so rejection can be a common aspect, even for amazing manuscripts. Learn how to cope with it and find a balance in your process.

Make Your Space

Some authors prefer to have a more personal space dedicated to their writing. It can be a study room dedicated to writing, or even a desk and a laptop. .

It does not even have to be at home. Some authors write at parlors, coffee shops, cafes, and busy locations full of people. Sometimes, the noise can even help! Find out what works best for you. Do you need to limit distractions, or do you thrive in them?

Regardless, as a fiction writer you simply need your tools and your space. Your space helps you get in the mood and in the flow, and helps you stay consistent, which leads to the next tip for aspiring fiction writers.

Be Consistent

Consistency is key to finding your style. Even randomness can be consistent. Some authors prefer to follow the language and its rules, while others prefer a bit more freedom from the grammatical restrictions. The truth is that in fiction writing, following the rules of language is not necessary, up to a certain point.

Another thing is the language style you use. Are you too descriptive, or not descriptive enough? Do you find yourself visiting the thesaurus just to look for a new word, despite not needing it? Do you want your writing to be more active rather than passive?

All these are things that fiction writers have to deal with, and understand. Consistency is key, but there are times when you can be consistent about the wrong thing as well. Sometimes, even simplicity is better than having every other word touched by the thesaurus fairies of fiction!

Don’t be Afraid to Experiment

When you write, you write from a point of view. In fiction, most authors prefer a first- or third-person approach. Each of them gives the fiction writer a different and unique opportunity to use that perspective.

For some, they want to introduce the audience to a new world, so the main character acts as a surrogate for the audience, and they utilize the first-person perspective to introduce aspects. A third person can tell a more plot-focused story better, while the first-person is more personal.

Each narrative has different options. First person brings opportunities to bring unreliable narrators, while some fiction writers may prefer a more omniscient perspective to switch between multiple characters, while sometimes even switching to first-person for when the character has an inner monologue.

Stop Believing in Writer’s Block

The writer’s block is something that only the most amateur writers tell themselves.

The truth is, that a writer’s block is just a burnout, a lack of inspiration, or you not being in flow. It can be an overwhelming feeling of being stuck, but one you can get out of. Perhaps you have gotten everything to start writing the first draft—even the outline is finished—but you can’t seem to move forward.

This is something that all fiction writers deal with, but is it something that almost all people across professions and hobbies deal with. This sort of wall just means you need to distract yourself and do something else for a while.

Story Should Drive Plot – Not the Other Way Around

One important thing that fiction writers need to understand, that no number of world-ending events and apocalypses can be as interesting as a character-focused story. A simple revenge plot works because we as the audience relate to the person seeking revenge. A world-ending story can be good, but only as good as the characters.

One of the finest examples of such is the story in the Mass Effect series of video games, comics, and fictional books. The outlying premise is about a space civilization with multiple alien races, battling against a galaxy-ending conflict, but the most memorable parts of those stories are the characters.

That is where fiction writers tend to misplace their priorities. Each character should be a ‘who’ before they are a ‘what.’ Character traits and quirks should not rely on their identity as much as form their identity. Being able to distinguish characters based on their world views alone can be a sign of good characters.

The plot should also be story-driven, and not vice versa. Most fiction writers tend to hold on to the plot before the story, and do not think about the distinction between the two. Understanding what those two means can make for better stories in general, and lead to your characters and events being elevated as a result.

Don’t Over-do It With Specific Sentences

In writing, and by extension in fiction writing as well, there is the scene narration and drama narration. Most fiction writers tend to gravitate towards a more scene narration, because it is more action focused.

However, think about it. What is more fun? Interesting dialogue between people, or a fiction writing describing a space battle or a fist fight between two superpowered beings?

The latter might work for a movie or a visual medium, but not for a fiction book. Utilize the idea of dramatic narration when you can. Slow the story down in favor of breaking up the pace. Action scene after action scene is not a good thing. Some moderation and balance is required.

Get the Full Story Down Before You Detail Anything

Last but not least, is to summarize the story. Have an idea of what to do from start to finish. Fiction writers tend to write as they go along, but that can lead to a disjointed story full of cool ideas but no direction.

Instead, a focused story is infinitely better because it allows for you to understand the intricacies of plot and fuse it with the characters, the themes, and the narrative.

You might not write the story you intended, but you will end up writing a better one.

Conclusion

The truth is that no amount of writing tips will fundamentally lead to you as a fiction writer having your book becoming a bestselling sales juggernaut, breaking records and smashing past the no.1 spot year after year. Instead, all this is just advice that you can follow to get your foot in the door, and eventually become a fiction writer who has found his true calling, and knows how to make the best of what they can make.

Success for any fiction writer is best defined by how it works for their individual case. If one way does not work for you, don’t be discouraged. There are a hundred others to choose from, and this blog only has eight for aspiring fiction writers.

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