10 Things about Writing Fiction

I know these are not new ideas, but sometimes I think we writers need the reminder!

i) If you’re not interested in your plot, you’re unlikely to write it well and other people are unlikely to like it either.

ii) You can write whatever the hell you want to write. If you want to write about hybrid giraffe-koalas ruling the world, you write about hybrid giraffe-koalas ruling the world! Don’t let people or the subject of current popular fiction change your mind about what you want to write. Who wants to write the next Twilight rip-off, anyway?

iii) Sometimes, your writing will be dreadful. Your pen and your head won’t click and you’ll end up with a terrible piece of fiction not at all like what you imagined. That’s life. At least you’ve got something on paper, and, besides, tomorrow’s another day. Maybe then you’ll write your masterpiece.

iv) Writer’s block isn’t an excuse for not writing. So you can’t think of anything new. Have another go at an old piece of writing that you put aside because it wasn’t working. Write fan-fiction. Write non-fiction. You might not be working on your current project, but at least you’re writing.

v) A lot of the time, writing is going to be difficult. You’re going to have no idea of what words to put down; the words might be too painful to put down; there might be so many words, too little time. You’re not going to feel like you’re getting anywhere. Worse, you’ll feel like a failure. This is a good time to go on the internet and google your favourite, or other popular, authors. Look on Wikipedia at their life story. Read some quotes from them. It won’t be all hunky-dory, and that’s because it wasn’t. If they say they have a whale of a time writing and being a writer, they’re lying. They struggled too, and they still got their work out there. People know their names. Someday, they’ll know your name too.

vi) One day, a friend or someone you know will get something published, or release a single or whatever. And you are going to be sickeningly jealous of them. Because you’re more talented, or you’ve worked for it harder etc etc. Truth is, people will be better than you. And their success isn’t your failure. Yeah, strive to achieve more than them, but if you do, you haven’t won. Writing isn’t a competition, folks.

vii) Kind of covered in (i) but you write for yourself. You don’t owe your writing to anybody, you don’t have to show your writing to anybody. At the end of the day, you should be proud of the result of your working. Not everything has to be published.

viii) That doesn’t mean you don’t accept advice. Do show your work to people if you want, and listen to their criticisms. It might be constructive, it might not. You might agree, you also might not. At least you’ve got someone else’s opinion on your work, now you can decide whether to heed what they say.

ix) Reading gives you most of the tools you need to write. Read widely. Enjoy it. Try and identify what it is you like or dislike about a book. If you don’t know what you dislike about a book how are you supposed to find things you don’t like about your own work? And if you can’t find things you dislike about your work, how are you supposed to fix them? So really think about it, and if you like someone’s work try and replicate (without plagiarising) the factor that you like.

x) Just keep writing. Write and write and write, until you write something you’re really proud of. Then keep writing…


Do you have any other reminders for writers? Leave them in the comments section below, or send me an ask on Tumblr so I can publish them for people to see there!



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