Fiction writing is difficult, but fun. But, how do you start writing fiction when you have little to no experience.
As with any new endeavor, the act of writing fiction can be daunting. Some questions you may have are:
Let's explore how and why to write fiction.
What is Fiction Writing
Fiction is a classification of literature that encompasses much of writing.
Merriam-Webster defines fiction as:
"Something invented by the imagination or feigned. Specifically an invented story."
In other words, fiction writing is the act of writing an invented or not-true story.
In contrast, non-fiction is literature that is typically fact-based writing.
While some writing is a cross between fiction and non-fiction, today, I am only writing about fiction.
Why Write Fiction
While writing fiction can be difficult, it is also fun and rewarding. Typically, the goal of fiction is to tell a story.
Storytelling has been an integral part of humanity's history since the Stone Age. Throughout history, storytelling was used to explain a tribe's history, beliefs, way of life, as well as to entertain. I think that the most creative storytellers were able to get their point across and entertain the tribe at the same time.
Writing fiction can be difficult. The difficulty is in both the story’s format, and it’s delivery.
The Story’s Format
There are many ways to break down and tell a story from the simple: three-act structure, to the more complicated, seventeen stage hero's journey that Joseph Campbell popularized.
I find that one of the difficulties in storytelling is deciding what format to use or what format to base the story on. I have also realized that a story's structure is not a fixed format; it can be modified and adjusted as your story's needs develop.
The Story’s Delivery
The delivery of the story is more technical. In our case, the delivery is the writing, and writing has rules and expectations.
The rules, such as spelling, grammar, and punctuation, were explained in the classroom and can easily be looked up when confusion sets in (when do you use a semicolon?).
The expectations come from what the reader expects and likes. The readers' expectations would include clean flow (paragraph structure and sentence length), tone of voice, dialog, slang, and point of view.
Writing fiction is fun
When writing fiction, you get to explore your imagination and create something from nothing. The creative process is never more active than when writing fiction. And who doesn't like to make up a good story?
How To Start Writing Fiction
Let me first say that there are as many ways to write fiction as there are people who write fiction. Some outline the whole story before they even write one word (plotters). Others just sit down and write, then continually revise their story as they go (pantsers). I believe that most writers are a combination of these two extremes.
If you are new to writing fiction, I would suggest starting simple and keeping it short.
Here is a straightforward process for writing a story (writing fiction).
Step 1 - Come up with a story idea.
The story idea can be one you have thought of, a writing prompt, or an interesting way to change another story. (I once wrote a modification of Goldilocks And The Three Bears called Goldilocks And The Three Dudes?.
Step 2 - Create a simple outline.
Outline how you want the story to go. Don't worry about structure; just outline the main points that you want your story to hit.
Tip: sometimes, it is easier to start with how you want the story to end and work backward.
Step 3 - Start writing.
Pick a point in the outline (usually, but not necessarily, the beginning) and write.
Once you start writing a portion of your story, it will easily flow into the next, or it will guide the section preceding it. The best advice I have ever heard is to just write! Simple right?
If you have a basic outline and you start writing, this is when the fun begins.
Step 4 - Revise and Re-Write
Typically you will have to re-write much of your story and, if your story gets complicated with additional characters, settings, and plotlines, you will want to create additional outlines and work from them.
Step 5 - Done
Remember, writing is an art form, and like any other artist, finding a point where you are finished is difficult. Writing and re-writing can be an endless task. Remember that perfection can be the enemy of productivity, and a finished story is better than an unfinished story. Done is better than perfect!
I know that for the experienced fiction writer, this explanation is quite simple, but it is just a starting point.
For the new fiction writer, this makes a great starting process, and you can develop it into a personal writing process that will make writing fiction fun and rewarding for years to come (as it should be).
Now It’s Your Turn
Grab your writing journal (see our journals at The Amazing Office
) and jot down some fiction story ideas, create a simple outline, and start writing what just may be your masterpiece.
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