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Fiction Writing Tips

Fiction Writing Tips
Fiction writing is a delicate craft, part art and part science. It's a craft I have devoted most of my life to, and in this section of my site I would like to share some of the things that have worked for me over the years. This section of the site was originally one page, but it has grown (and continues to grow!) at such a rate that I have split it up. Please select one of the categories below to view the tips. If you have a question or problem you would like to see me address, or a writer's tip you would like to share, please use the form below, or feel free to email me! Don't forget to check out my writer's links page for some valuable resources!

http://users.pgtc.com/~slmiller/fictiontips.htm

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The 3 Essential Elements to Creating a Believable Romance - C. S. Lakin C.S. Lakin runs an amazing blog called Live Write Thrive – haven’t been there yet? Take a peek around, and don’t forget to check out her new book 5 Editors Tackle the 12 Fatal Flaws of Fiction Writing! Elements of Suspense in Writing: 6 Secret to Creating and Sustaining Suspense Thriller writing? Mystery writing? Literary fiction? It’s all the same: Building apprehension in the minds of your readers is one of the most effective keys to engaging them early in your novel and keeping them flipping pages late into the night. Simply put, if you don’t hook your readers, they won’t get into the story.

25 Things Every Writer Should Know An alternate title for this post might be, “Things I Think About Writing,” which is to say, these are random snidbits (snippets + tidbits) of beliefs I hold about what it takes to be a writer. I hesitate to say that any of this is exactly Zen (oh how often we as a culture misuse the term “Zen” — like, “Whoa, that tapestry is so cool, it’s really Zen“), but it certainly favors a sharper, shorter style than the blathering wordsplosions I tend to rely on in my day-to-day writing posts. Anyway. Peruse these. Absorb them into your body. The Official P/T Collective Archive by Peg Robinson. © 1997 Disclaimer: Distribute freely. The more folks who know how to give and take crit ethically, humanely, and usefully, the better.

Stephen King's Top 20 Rules for Writers Image by the USO, via Flickr Commons In one of my favorite Stephen King interviews, for The Atlantic, he talks at length about the vital importance of a good opening line. “There are all sorts of theories,” he says, “it’s a tricky thing.” “But there’s one thing” he’s sure about: “An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say: Listen. Come in here.

The Adverb Is Not Your Friend: Stephen King on Simplicity of Style by Maria Popova “I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops.” “Employ a simple and straightforward style,” Mark Twain instructed in the 18th of his 18 famous literary admonitions. And what greater enemy of simplicity and straightforwardness than the adverb? Or so argues Stephen King in On Writing: A Memoir on the Craft (public library), one of 9 essential books to help you write better.

41 WAYS TO CREATE AND HEIGHTEN SUSPENSE According to top New York literary agent Noah Lukeman (The Plot Thickens), if a writer can maintain suspense throughout the story, many readers will keep reading even if the characters are undeveloped and the plot is weak. Clearly, suspense is a vital tool, yet most books on writing only mention it in passing and few devote much space to its creation and development. I've written 27 novels, and some of them have been rather successful, but Lukeman's observation came as a revelation.

How To Create An Intriguing Inciting Incident Every single element between the first page and the very last page of a screenplay is arguably the most important, salable thing about it. In this article, the beginning of the plot takes the number one spot. However, the plot really can’t begin being awesome until it is set in motion.

Locus Online Features: Cory Doctorow: Writing in the Age of Distraction from Locus Magazine, January 2009 We know that our readers are distracted and sometimes even overwhelmed by the myriad distractions that lie one click away on the Internet, but of course writers face the same glorious problem: the delirious world of information and communication and community that lurks behind your screen, one alt-tab away from your word-processor. The single worst piece of writing advice I ever got was to stay away from the Internet because it would only waste my time and wouldn't help my writing. This advice was wrong creatively, professionally, artistically, and personally, but I know where the writer who doled it out was coming from.

Planning a Novel: Character Arc In A Nutshell It’s NaNoWriMo Season, and that means a ton of writers are planning their novels. Or, at the very least (in the case of you pantsers) thinking about their novel. Whether you plot or pants, if you don’t want to end up in No Man’s Land halfway to 50K, it is often helpful to have a solid foundation of ideas about your book. 5 Reasons Your Story is Stuck If you’ve been writing any amount of time you have been there—THE SUCK. This is where no matter how hard you try, you just cannot seem to move your story forward. Though “normal” people might laugh at the above meme?

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