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Writing Tips

A Beginner’s Guide on How to Write Fiction

People who say that writing is something that can’t be taught is talking nonsense. You can’t spoonfeed people with inspiration and imagination, but writing is something that can be taught just like other skills such as baking.

Sure, some people may be born with a natural talent in writing, but this doesn’t mean that they are the only ones who can write good works of fiction. Anyone can learn how to write a good story, and this article will guide you on how to write fiction.

  • Read, read, and read!

Before you write your own fictional story, it is recommended that you read other writers’ stories first. As the famous writer William Faulkner said, “Read, read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out the window.”

By reading the works of famous and even not-so famous authors, you will be able to enhance your vocabulary, learn new styles and techniques, hone your imagination, creativity, and critical thinking, as well as improve your overall writing skills.

  • Decide on the format and genre of your fictional story.

Carefully decide on what type of fictional story would you want to write—whether you want to write a short story, a novel, or a series of novels for instance. Moreover, you should also consider the type of genre such as sci-fi, romance, fantasy, or a combination of various genres.

  • Create an outline of your story.

Once you’ve decided on the format and genre, it is now time to develop an outline for your work of fiction. Decide on the setting, plot, and the characters, including their unique personalities and flaws. Think and take down notes of what you want to happen for each chapter and where your characters will come in.

You don’t necessarily have to write down an extremely detailed outline because there is a fairly good chance that you will deviate from the outline that you originally created as you go through the writing process. The purpose of the outline is just to serve as a guide or map that will help you develop your story.

  • Start writing.

Now it’s time to put your story down on paper. You can write your ideas with a pen and paper, typewriter, or a computer—whatever suits you. Just write everything down with guidance from your outline and fix errors later.

  • Reread your work and revise.

Don’t expect to get everything right the first time. Even the best writers make several revisions with their work. So reread everything you’ve written, read it aloud if you want, and proofread your work until it comes out the way you want it to.

One of the most difficult parts of writing is knowing where and how to start. I hope this article helped you understand the writing process much better and encourages you to push through with this endeavour. You may find things complicated at first, but let this serve as a challenge for you to practice more and be better at this craft.

Here’s How Fictional Writing Can Be Beneficial

writing fiction

I’ve heard some people say that fictional stories aren’t significant to the society, and that being a fiction writer is a career that is not worth pursuing. They say that storytelling and fictional writing are not beneficial to your life and your future. If you also hear these things and you are somehow being dissuaded from your dream of becoming a fiction writer, let this article serve as an encouragement for you.

Below are some of the ways by which fictional writing can be beneficial and worthy of pursuing.

  1. Fiction stories can make a significant difference in your life.

Despite being a work of fiction, stories can inspire, motivate, inform, as well as trigger emotions and actions. Hence, this type of literature can touch and make a huge difference in your life and the lives of other people.

Through effective writing and made-up characters, people will learn that there are some things in life that are worth fighting for or believing in for instance. Just as fictional stories can make a difference, so do the writers who create them.

If you want to make a difference in this world, fictional writing can serve as a clear shot at this objective. So it is your dream to write and tell interesting stories? That’s good. Don’t let go of that desire; and trust me, your story will make a difference.

  1. Fiction can teach valuable life lessons.

Fictional stories can be one of your best teachers—about people and their cultures, about the concept of right and wrong, or about life in general. Again, this doesn’t only apply to you as the author, but to your readers as well.

The thing about writing is that the skills and knowledge that you acquire through fictional writing and making use of your imagination can be applied to many other aspects of your life. For instance, mastering the art of writing fiction can help you communicate more effectively and craft better essays or other forms of writing.

  1. It widens people’s imagination and promotes critical thinking.

When you take fictional writing seriously, you will find yourself exploring various subjects and carefully pondering on things that you haven’t put much attention into in the past. Things such as philosophy, beliefs, the way people relate to each other, as well as logic are now more interesting than before. In addition, using your imagination frequently can broaden it, and allow you to practice your ability to create.

In other words, writing fiction challenges you to think outside the box and thoroughly consider concepts on a much deeper level—a good mental workout.

  1. Writing reveals truth.

Fictional writing is an interesting way of communicating truths to readers of all ages. The thing about fiction is that it shows or portrays a truth in such an effective way that other ways fail to do so because it puts that “truth” in a whole new light.

Through fictional writing, ideas and concepts can be painted in a unique picture that invokes creative and critical thinking from its audience; thereby, making it a powerful tool for revealing truths.

  1. Fictional stories can add perspective for the writer and the audience.

Perhaps, one of the most important benefits that you can obtain from writing and reading fiction is the fact that you can acquire a fresh perspective about life and the world. Who would’ve thought that made-up characters in a made-up world going through made-up circumstances can give us incredible insights? And I think that’s the beauty of it all.

As you write and read more fictional stories, you will be able to understand the complexities of life better, and be able to appreciate the simpler aspects too. Furthermore, as a writer, fictional writing can give you new perspectives about your own self that you’ve never known before. Therefore, it transforms you into a better person with a more open mind.

Final Thoughts

Fictional writing is an activity that allows you to create—create new worlds, characters, and events. It allows you to express yourself freely. Furthermore, fictional writing or writing in general can give you a purpose in life. So don’t ever think that pursuing your passion for writing is a waste of your life. Just dream, write, and don’t stop!

5 tips to help you write a good novel

Many people think that writing fiction is easy. But in reality, writing fiction is a form of art. You need lots of practice and patience to write a good fiction. If you really want to write fiction then here are some tips that can help you improve your writing.

Begin your story with action

You should start your novel with an action. This grabs the attention of the readers. However, you have to make sure that the action is important to the story. It should take you to the main character. You can start with tension also; for example, the main character is searching for something or trying hard to protect someone, etc.

Use the five senses

You should apply senses other than sight and sound. You should try to go even beyond these senses. You should use body language when narrating your story. This will give depth to your story.

Use your IQ well

Most of the readers are very well educated, so you should use your IQ well when writing a story. You should not think customers to be not intelligent and tone down your book for audiences of lower intellectual ability. People are smarter now. So, you should be smart in your writing as well. You shouldn’t overexplain things thinking that the readers won’t understand.

Make them laugh and cry

You should get your readers emotionally involved. You should write in a way so that the readers laugh and cry reading the story. The reader should be able to get inside the story and really feel it.

End every chapter carefully

You should end every chapter unanswered or on the verge of some action so that the reader feels the urge to read the next chapter. So, the ending of your chapters must be interesting.

You should understand your audience well. Then you should write for the vast audience who will accept your story. You should use these tips when writing. there are various online resources available where you can get more tips on writing a novel.

4 major differences between fiction and non-fiction writing

In simple terms, fiction is something imaginary and non-fiction is something that’s true. In non-fiction writing, real people and real places are involved. On the other hand, in fiction stories, everything is from the writer’s imagination. Here are some major differences between the two types of writing.

Fiction is made up, non-fiction is fact

Fiction stories are all made up. All the characters and places come from the authors’ imagination. Non-fiction writing, on the other hand, is fact-based and informative. Fiction books are written for entertaining readers and the non-fiction books are written to give more knowledge to the readers. Examples of fictions are novels, short stories, etc. History books, autobiography, etc. are non-fictions.

Fiction is more elaborate

In fiction, the writer can go along with his or her imagination without any limit. They can elaborate on a plot or character as far as their imagination goes. In non-fiction, the writer has to be straight forward. There is no scope for any imagination. It is actually reallocation of facts.

Fiction can be interpreted in different ways

The story that is written by a fictional writer can be interpreted in various ways by the audience. But non-fiction writings are simple and direct. They can have only one interpretation.

Non-fiction writing needs references

In non-fiction writing, you may need to give references for your writing and include quotes to the story. This is needed to make your story or writing more credible. But in fiction writing, no such references are required.

These are the differences between fiction and non-fiction writing that you must remember. You should simply remember that fiction is imaginative and non-fiction is true. Fiction writing is fun to read and non-fiction writing is informative. So, next time when you read a book, you will be able to tell easily whether it’s fiction or non-fiction.

Just Because You’re Not Offended Doesn’t Mean It’s Not Offensive

There’s been a huge controversy over three recent issues of the quarterly magazine of the Science Fiction Writers of America, The Bulletin. The debate began with issue #200, which used a vintage piece of Red Sonja artwork for its cover.

I think of myself as a quiet and reserved person and an introvert, so it was a little startling to be called a “social butterfly” as one acquaintance did in San Jose over the weekend. “You know absolutely everybody!” he said.

Well, it’s a fair cop. I’ve been in this business for sixteen years, and the set of pro sf writers in the field is basically a small town. There are several thousand of us, and of those a group of maybe 500 who are frequent or regular convention-attenders. After a while, you get to the point where you either know everybody, or are connected to everybody. I happen to think that this particular rotating group of connections and acquaintances are some of the best people in the world. If you parachute into the middle of an average, mid-sized midwestern city, you could spend all day wandering around looking for people as fascinating, smart, motivated, and dynamic as those who are just literally lying in your path at a well-attended SF lit convention. Why not enjoy it and make the most of it?

Why attend conventions at all? First of all, convention attendance is totally optional. You can be a successful writer without ever setting foot in one, and if you don’t like it, that’s well and good. You don’t have to attend. And it’s important to know this, because if you do go to a convention, it’s good to go with the attitude that it’s all optional and anything good that comes from it is just gravy.

That said, there are some very good reasons to go to conventions. Human interactions are crucial in any business, it doesn’t matter what kind. If you are someone who makes and sells shrubberies, you may be very successful as the only shrubber in your local market, but it’s still very nice to get together with other shrubbers to share experiences, seek support, and get new ideas. You might even find ways to work with other shrubbers to enhance your own business and make a little extra money together. Who knows? Anything can happen.

It can be paralyzing to go into a convention with the idea that you’re there to “do business.” Forget the elevator pitch. Don’t even think of it. Instead of worrying about making a good impression on people that will be useful in your career, form an expectation that you are just there to look around, and be curious about everyone who crosses your path. That person might be a famous writer or editor, but they might also be a radically cool fan. It doesn’t matter. Whatever serendipitous meetings occur, that is what is meant to be. Have fun, talk about your kids and pets and the weather and favorite movies, and let the business happen organically. And it will. Because trust is a basis of business interactions, and showing people pictures of your cat on your cell phone is how you build trust. Just do it.

Adjust your expectations. You are not going to go to a convention and walk out with a huge novel contract. Don’t even think about it. Put it out of your mind. You are just there to make friends. Do you like having friends in your day-to-day life? Friends are good. Humans need friends. You are just there to meet some people.

Also, if you are new to the scene and don’t know very many people, prepare yourself to spend some time alone. Bring books to read. Plan one or two solo sightseeing outings. If the hotel has a spa, make an appointment. Get comfortable with the idea of eating alone in a restaurant or bar. Bring a spouse or a partner if it makes you more comfortable, but don’t let that close you off to hanging out with new friends. If you and your companion form too tight a knot, no one else can get in.

Your goal should be to make one or two new friends at each convention. You can’t spend all of your time with that one new person, but over time things will snowball.

Sign up for things. If the convention offers any tours or workshops you can sign up for in advance, do it. You will meet people, and those people will be well-disposed to making new friends because of the situation. In a writing-oriented convention, whatever you’ve signed up for may have a pro running it, so you get to meet at least one professional in your field.

Volunteer for panels. If you have some professional credits, let the convention know you’re coming ahead of time and are willing to help out on programming. They are often very happy to have you, and may offer you free membership. Panels are also a good way to get used to public speaking, since the burden isn’t on one person to carry the entire show.

Connect with online friends. Look for opportunities to meet up with online friends. Check out parties, mixers, tweetups, and other organized get-togethers. Again, these are situations where people will be very open to meeting you and it will help you overcome your natural reserve.

Make plans in advance. If you do have someone you know will be at the con, make plans ahead of time. People have a way of getting busy, or getting tired, and you might miss them otherwise.

Bring a book. This is a trick I learned a number of years ago. I carry a book around at conventions. If I go to the hotel lobby looking for friends or new, interesting people to meet, and there’s no one I can immediately approach and begin chatting with, I’ll park myself at a table or the bar and read my book. The book itself is a conversation-starter, and at a science fiction convention, most people share your love of book-reading. You won’t get very many pages read before someone comes along and interrupts you.

Ask questions. Never have an awkward conversation again in your life. When pauses emerge, throw out a question. Where are you from? Have you seen the new Star Trek movie? Do you like cats? Don’t fill every silence. Let your new friend ask you some questions, too.

Fans are cool, too. As writers, we naturally gravitate to other writers. These people instantly get us. But don’t overlook the fans. Science fiction fans are very often extremely smart, successful, interesting people. And fans also have their own brand of power in the business. It’s fans who make decisions about programming and inviting guests of honor, etc., etc. If you make a good impression on the fans, you will definitely have a better time at conventions. BE NICE TO THE FANS.

Cut your losses. Everyone knows that conventions also attract…well…weirdos. People you don’t want to know or spend time with. In fact, this is one thing that tends to scare writers away from conventions, because if there are one or two of these types in a room, it can give you a bad impression of fandom in general. Practice some conversational dismounts to get you out of conversations you don’t want to be in. They can vary from, “Excuse me I need to visit the ladies’ room,” to “You are making me uncomfortable please leave me alone.” (And please carefully tune your dismount to the audience. No need to be cruel.) I’m sorry about this. I apologize on behalf of the whole genre. The important thing to remember is you don’t have to let someone monopolize your time if you don’t enjoy their company. You are at the convention to have fun!

You are not there to get laid. I mean, if you do get laid while you’re there, it’s great. But don’t treat the convention like a singles bar. This is a bit of a tough transition sometimes for writers who started as fans, because there is an element of con culture that is all about hooking up. And that’s great. But the writers by and large are NOT there to hook up. So what I’m saying is assess your social environment very carefully and only hit on people who are clearly available.

Allow extra days for travel, if you can. Arriving a day early and leaving a day late will make things much less stressful. Much. I particularly recommend the leaving a day late strategy. That last night at the con can be the very best, especially for shy folks, as you’ve had a day or two to gradually relax and start feeling comfortable with new people.

Schedule some downtime. I often treat myself to room service one night, which not only gives me some time to recharge, but takes the pressure off for one meal. No need to find dinner companions, choose a cuisine and restaurant, make an expedition, make scintillating conversation, etc.

Comfortable shoes. Need I say more?

Buy a banquet ticket. At some conventions, like Nebula weekend, you’ll have a chance for a sit-down meal with strangers. Go for it, even if it’s expensive. I met my friend Jay Lake that way. Every time I’ve done this it’s worked out great. Again, this is a situation where you’re automatically placed in a group, so no need to approach anyone or find a good opening line. You can just ask a question and you’re good to go.

Don’t get too wrapped up in status. If there’s one thing I’ve seen in sixteen years, it’s the coming and going of hot new writers. Trust me. Slow and steady wins the race. So there are hot new writers getting a lot of attention, collecting awards. They are just as anxious and insecure as you are, and often they sort of stop writing and disappear a few years later. Some of this year’s batch of superstars had me thinking of meteors from years past, wondering where they are, what they’re doing, are they still writing? Don’t sweat it. Honors, awards, accolades–all very capricious. Do you have some cat pictures on your phone? Whip them out. Cat pics are eternal.

Don’t be an asshole. You know how they say some people can do it and get away with it? They are not getting away with it. Trust me. Those people have lost friends and opportunities. It only looks like it doesn’t stick. Don’t be that person. It’s not worth it.

Don’t cart the internet around with you. If you’ve encountered someone on the internet and you’re meeting them for the first time in person, it is largely best to simply start over. If you’ve had extensive conversations online, then of course acknowledge it. But most people don’t have a perfect memory for every discussion or flame war, and, more importantly, if you set aside any charged interactions you may have had online, you may find the person is actually really cool.

Be authentic, be genuine, be sincere, be yourself. Have some faith that you are an interesting person and others want to know you. Wear what you want that makes you feel awesome. Be a good listener. Be forgiving of yourself and others. You’re not always going to say the right thing. You might make a faux pas, or someone around you might. Laugh it off. Let it go. Be gentle. Be kind. Make jokes. Buy drinks for people. Find ways to help.