Helpful Writing Tips For Fiction Authors

Writing a story is an undertaking that allows your imagination to run wild. You will create characters and perhaps even build worlds. There is no definitive list of rules you should follow for fiction writing but there are several techniques to help you with you write better and craft a great story.


1. Be proud of your story: You may have a list of story ideas waiting to be fleshed out, but the chances are there is one you are most interested in. Start writing that story. Many authors do their best writing when they’re deeply invested in their characters and plot.

2. Hold information back from the readers. When writing fiction, only give readers the information they need at that moment. Use Ernest Hemingway’s iceberg theory: this is to show your readers just the tip of the iceberg. Supporting details, like backstory unless it contains vital information, should remain unseen in the same way the mass of an iceberg lies under the water’s surface. This theory prevents readers from getting overwhelmed with information and lets them use their imagination to fill in the blanks.


3. Write simply. An example of this is Shakespeare’s line, “To be or not to be?” It is famous for its brevity and the way it describes a character’s struggles with their own life. Of course, there is a time and place for bigger words and denser text, but often you can get points in your story across in simple sentences and language. Try to use succinct language when writing, so that every word and sentence has a clear purpose.

4. Use different types of writing. To become a better writer experiment with different types of writing. If you are a novelist, work on a short story. If you write fiction, think about writing nonfiction. You might even try more casual writing by blogging. Each piece of writing that you do has a different point of view and different style rules that will help you develop your writing skills.


5. Write every day. Most writers develop a regular writing habit. This means that they dedicate time every day to the craft of writing. Some writers do this by assigning themselves a daily word count. For example, Stephen King writes 2,000 words a day. Alternatively, you could consider joining a writing group. It is a great motivator to have to show your work to other writers. Do not worry if what you write is technically bad writing, or even if you struggle to get something onto a blank page. Some days will always be more productive than others but the more you write the easier it gets.


6.Set targets. The average word count for a book is 75,000 words. That makes novel writing intimidating. If you are working on your first novel, one way to stay motivated is by setting targets. This will help you break the book down so it is easier to manage and easier to complete.

7. Understand story structure. Professional writers understand the outline stories follow. It takes them from exposition and rising action through to the climax and falling action. It may help to create an outline to map your main plot and subplots on paper before you get started.


8. Learn character development techniques. There are many effective ways to create interesting characters in literature and character led stories are usually the most interesting. As a writer be aware of the character information you are revealing to increase tension in your story. Your main characters should have a backstory that informs their actions, motivations, and goals. Be careful about the point of view (POV) and whether you are writing in the first person or third person to disclose your character’s interpretation of events.

Val Penny


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