How To Write Fiction

Fiction is one of the most widely-read types of writing in the world, in part because of the wide range of subjects that are covered in the stories that are published. Horror, suspense, comedy, drama, action, fantasy....all of these subjects and more fall under the broad umbrella of fiction. That works wonderfully for someone who wants to read fiction, but what about those who want to write it?

Writing fiction can be easier than you might think....after all, it's only writing stories like many people have been creating their whole lives. While it might seem at first that nothing you could come up with would be anywhere on par with the Stephen Kings and Anne Rices of the world, you should remember that all of the books and stories that you've ever read and that you've ever seen all started with nothing more than an idea. To start writing your own fiction, try the following:

  1. In order to write fiction, you're going to need something to write about. Consider the things around you....your job, people that you know, or things that you've seen. Decide what your story is going to be about, since you won't have much of a story without it. Think about other stories that you've read, what they were about, and how they were written. Many writers draw inspiration for their stories from the work of other writers, and reading other fiction is a great way to stay creative in your own writing.
  2. Think about what type of story you want to write. Do you want to write something about everyday life, or do you want it to be set in a fantasy world? Do you want a horror story, a western, or maybe both? Decide if you want to fit your story into one of the pre-established genres (a fancy word for a specific type of story, including fantasy, horror, action, adventure, comedy, western, and drama), or if you just want it to develop its own category as you write it.
  3. Once you have a basic premise and a type of fiction picked out, you need to start working on your plot. The plot is driving force of the story or's what's actually happening in the tale, and has a variety of different story lines that might feed into it. There are considered to be three basic types of versus man (meaning good guys and bad guys), man versus nature (meaning a main character who's having to deal with the world around him), and man versus himself (meaning that the main character must overcome some character flaw or other personal aspect). Begin making a rough outline of what you would like to happen, letting it begin slowly and build to a climax before wrapping up the end of your story.
  4. After you've created a basic idea of the plot that you want, start designing the characters to fit into that plot. Generally, you're going to need a protagonist (or hero), at least one antagonist (or villain), and a variety of supporting characters for both sides. Keep in mind that not all of the characters have to be actual characters....the antagonist might be a storm, or a deserted island, or some other thing that stands in the way of the main characters.
  5. Once you have a basic plot and characters, you're ready to start writing! Remember to try not to advance the plot too quickly....use the beginning of your book or story as a time to introduce the hero and set up some of the plot points that are ahead for her. Work at a comfortable pace, making sure that you're not afraid to go back and change things if needed to make the plot work out better down the line.
  6. When you finish your work, set it aside for a few days or possibly even a week or two. Concern yourself with other projects, letting the story "rest" (a writing industry term meaning that you let it get out of your mind so that you can come back to it later). After some time has passed, reread what you've written and note any changes that need to be made. You might go through several revisions before your work is the way that you want it....but you'll find that all of the hard work and revisions are worth it in the end.


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Great tips! Thanks!

By Jessica LeBlanc