Writing fiction can be complex and multifaceted. There are countless details to consider throughout the process. There’s the initial brainstorming, the outlining, the countless hours of research, the actual writing, and the inevitable revising. As if that wasn’t enough, you still have the editing process, a monumental task of its own. All this to create what you hope will be an amazing work of fiction that readers will fall in love with. Not much to ask, right?
In doing this research, I’ve gathered an immeasurable amount of ideas concerning fiction writing. These writing tips, from countless sources, might be helpful to other writers tackling a novel by offering different viewpoints and by providing food for the creative process.
Hopefully, the tips below will help make writing that novel a little easier.
- Read more fiction than you write.
- Don’t lock yourself into one genre (in reading or writing). Even if you have a favorite genre, step outside of it occasionally.
- Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.
- Dissect and analyze stories you love from books, movies, and television to find out what works in storytelling and what doesn’t.
- Don’t write for the market. Tell the story that’s in your heart. You can make an outline before, during, or after you finish your rough draft. It will provide you with a road map, which is a powerful tool to have at your disposal.
- Some of the best fiction comes from real life. Jot down stories that interest you whether you hear them from a friend or read them in a news article.
- Real life is also a great source of inspiration for characters. Look around at your friends, family, and coworkers. Magnify and mix the strongest aspects of their personalities, and you’re on your way to crafting a cast of believable characters.
- Make your characters real through details rather than lengthy head-to-toe physical descriptions.
- The most realistic and relatable characters are flawed. Find something good about your villain and something dark in your hero’s past.
- Avoid telling readers too much about the characters. Instead, show the characters’ personalities through their actions and interactions.
- Give your characters difficult obstacles to overcome. Make them suffer. That way, when they triumph, it will be even more rewarding.
- Cultivate a distinct voice. Your narrator should not sound warm and friendly in the first few chapters and then objective and aloof in later chapters. The voice should be consistent, and its tone should complement the content of your book.
- Give careful consideration to the narrative point of view. Is the story best told in first person or third person? If you’re not sure, write a few pages in each narrative point of view to see what works best.
- Is your story moving too fast for readers or are they yawning through every paragraph? Are the love scenes too short? Are the fight scenes too long? Do you go into three pages of detail as your characters walk from point A to point B and then fly through an action sequence in a couple of short paragraphs? Pay attention to pacing!
- Infuse your story with rich themes to give it a humanistic quality. Examples of themes include sacrifice, redemption, rebirth, life and death, faith, destiny, etc. These are the big shadows that hover over your story.
- Make sure you understand that every story needs a beginning, middle, and an end.
- Use symbols and imagery to create continuity throughout your story. Think about how the White Rabbit kept popping up when Alice was adventuring through Wonderland or how the color red was used in the film American Beauty. These are subtle details that give your story great power.
- Every great story includes transformation. The characters change, the world changes, and hopefully, the reader will change too.
- Enrich your main plot with subplots. In real life, there’s a lot happening at once.
- There is a difference between a sub-plot and a tangent. Don’t go off on too many tangents.
- If you write in a genre, don’t be afraid to blur the lines. A horror story can have funny moments and a thriller can have a bit of romance.
- Make sure your setting is vivid and realistic even if you made it up.
- If you didn’t make up your setting, then do your best to get to the location and see it for yourself before you finish your manuscript. If that’s not possible, get busy researching.
- Give the readers room to think. You don’t have to tell your story in minute detail, including each minute of the plot’s timeline or all of the characters’ thoughts. Provide enough dots, and trust that the reader will be able to connect them when your story makes time jumps.
- Let the readers use their imaginations with your story’s descriptions as well. Provide a few choice details and let the readers fill in the rest of the canvas with their own colors.
- Don’t focus exclusively on storytelling at the expense of compelling language.
- Appeal to readers’ senses. Use descriptive words that engage the readers’ senses of taste, touch, sound, sight, and smell.
- Apply poetry techniques to breathe life into your prose. Use alliteration, onomatopoeia, metaphor, and other literary devices to make your sentences sing and dance.
- When rewriting, check for the following: plot holes, character inconsistencies, missing scenes, extraneous scenes, accuracy in research, and of course, grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
- As you revise, ask yourself whether every paragraph, sentence, and word is essential to your story. If it’s not, you know where the delete button is.
- Before your final revisions and before you send your manuscript out to any agents or editors, find your beta readers: join a writing group, take a fiction workshop, or hire a pro.
- Do not send out your rough draft. Go through the revision process at least three times before handing it out to your beta readers. The stronger it is when you bring in editors, the stronger those editors will be able to make it.
- Have fun. If you’re not enjoying writing, then maybe it’s not for you. If you’re not enjoying fiction writing, try something else, like poetry, blogging, or screenwriting. Be willing to experiment and you’ll find your way.
Were these writing tips helpful? Got any tips to add? Leave a comment!
Check on the website for my “Dragomeir Series” (for dragon lovers) and various other genres,
And updates on my latest series – “Daughter of the Dark Lord.” Interesting EXTRAS available too!
An animal that is similar to what we know as a bison or buffalo; they roamed on the Provinces of Hell and were the main food source for dragons, and also on the menu for the citizens. They were bulky oversized animals, not terribly intelligent and often cranky, but extremely useful. Large fields were cultivated outside the Palace, and as the bubalos were procured, pens were built for the massive number of creatures. They migrated twice a year from the more barren lands of the Provinces to the northwestern edge of Hell proper, where they fed on the grasslands produced during that time of year. The Dark Lord’s daughter, Katherine, even had bubalos brought in to feed the Hell hounds living within the city. Being such large creatures, they were often bridled and used for transporting supplies from place to place when needed. The hide from a bubalos could be tanned and used for various articles of clothing or types of baggage.
Read more about life on the Provinces in the following book –
A prequel book to the Dragomeir Series
Find this book and many more at
Dragons are magical, mythical winged creatures that we find both thrilling and frightening. Both adults and younger readers seem to find them equally fantastic. We’d like to believe that they might have once existed, and they are legendary in almost every culture on the planet, so why not?
They have traditionally been viewed as perilous, dangerous creatures with magical qualities that laid waste to the countryside and carried off damsels in distress, thereby having to be sought after and conquered. Some authors have written about them with this view in mind – Tolkien, Ursula K. LeGuin, and J. K. Rowling, to name a few. The fantasy writer, Anne McCaffrey, explored human kinship with dragons, man and animal befriending one another. Countless children’s books have now brought these fantastic creatures into the next generation to be both feared and loved.
I have continued with Anne McCaffrey’s affinity of dragon and man in my Dragomeir Series books, and now in the new prequel series, Daughter of the Dark Lord – Part One – The Burning Sky, and the forthcoming Daughter of the Dark Lord – Part Two – The Alberra Project. (There will definitely be a Part Three!)
Dragons introduce a much needed magic and adrenaline into our lives – the appeal of being unpredictable and potentially dangerous that emulates our challenges, frustrations and achievements in an exhilarating and exceptional way. Dragons never play by anyone’s rules.
Nowadays, dragons are our constant companions in novels, movies and computer games. They are the most familiar and respected creatures from fantasy and legend. They can give us an emotional reaction of faithful friendship, as well as the opportunity to fly. Dragons allow us to feel indestructible and open up our imaginations. They give us wings.
What are your favorite dragons?
DAUGHTER OF THE DARK LORD – Part One – THE BURNING SKY
The first Prequel Book to the Dragomeir Series
(A saga of dragons, demons, fierce creatures and dragon riders)
BEFORE IT ALL BEGAN . . .
A daughter born to the cruel tyrant of the Provinces, the Dark Lord
An incredible child of great skill and abilities
A long awaited prophecy yet to be fulfilled
A remarkable and enduring gift – a Dragon egg
Friends, allies and enemies embroiled in conflict for their lives amidst schemes and unruly allegiances
Who is this child and how does her life impact the future?
– THE PREQUEL
AND THE ENTIRE DRAGOMEIR SERIES
IS AVAILABLE NOW in multiple formats at the following sites –
Enjoy the sci-fi/urban fantasy world of Dragomeir!
Any questions about the books? Leave me a comment.
The new PREQUEL BOOK to the DRAGOMEIR SERIES is coming out this month and HERE IS THE COVER! The new book –
Daughter of the Dark Lord, Part One, The Burning Sky
– will inform you about the early years of “The Ariella”, Queen of the Dragons at Mt. Drago. It gives a better understanding of her earliest moments and how the environment into which she was born and the people surrounding her, shaped the character of a child and led to the unique leader she became. And of course, her best friend and dragon companion, Exxa, played an important role in shaping her life. So, if you loved the dragons in the Dragomeir Series, along with all the other amazing creatures, Daughter of the Dark Lord will give you an engaging look into the past of the Queen of the Dragons that will keep you wondering what happens next!
Check out the Dragomeir Series and my other books at www.solitaireparke.com.