Tuesday Tips: How to Improve Your Fiction Writing

Posted: July 20, 2011 in Tuesday Tips for Writers

Most writers say that it is harder to write fiction than non-fiction. Whether you agree or not, we have to admit that it takes a different skill set to be able to write a story than to write an essay or a blog.

So if you’ve been writing fiction or if you plan to write one soon, here are some tips to help you be better. Share your own tips too!

Start with “What if?”

A lot of stories start with what if questions/statement. Don’t think about the whole plot yet or the complications of the story. Just start with what kind of story you want to tell. Some sample what ifs

  • What if a girl goes to a place she’s never been before to start over?
  • What if the 10 plagues in Egypt start happening in our current world?
  • What if a rich man suddenly wakes up feeling dissatisfied with his successful life?
  • What if a child refuses to sleep at night because he wants to not miss anything?

Always bring a notebook (or netbook or tablet or digital device)

Whenever you have a story idea, put it down on paper or digitally. You never know when or where inspiration will strike you. And you’ll never know when one of these story ideas will suddenly come to life and you can start actually writing.

Write where you are inspired to write

Whether it’s by the beach, in a quiet coffee shop, in a library, or even in the middle of a noisy place, go to your inspired place when you’re finally ready to start writing. Some great writers lock themselves away from the world when they’re finishing a novel. If that works for you too, why not?

Let the story flow and tell its story

The first draft should not be edited yet. Just tell your story like you see it in your head, without editing yourself or going back to paragraphs/chapters you’ve already written and rewriting them. The time for rewrites and re-edits will come later. For now, just let your words tell their story.

Use “realistic” dialogue

If your story is based on this reality, write your dialogue the way actual people would say it. If it’s a historical story, then you would have to do a little bit more research on how they actually spoke in those times. If it’s a fantasy story or not based on our current reality, then make sure that the words are consistent with the universe you’ve created.

Step away from the finished first draft

Once you’ve finished version 1 of your book/story, step away from it for a few days so you’ll be able to look at it with fresh eyes once you go back. Do other things that are not related at all to your story. Then a day before you go back, think about it without looking at what you’ve written. Maybe you’ll get new ideas and a new perspective.

Let the editing begin

The editing part is a whole different process which requires a whole new blog post. One thing is important: be open! Your work of fiction is a labor of love of course, but if you intend for other people to read it and to be published one day, then what other people will think of it has to be taken into consideration. Don’t hesitate to kill characters or even whole chapters that won’t work or can be unsaid. And if you can afford it or if you have a friend who is one, get an editor!

For tips and advice from famous successful authors, click here.

We’ll be doing follow-up posts on writing fiction. What would you like to learn? Share with us your thoughts on this!




  1. goyapableo says:

    wow! much thanks! now, to get myself a handy notebook… 🙂

  2. morks says:

    Perfect excuse to get an iPad. hehe.

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