Over the centuries, plenty of published authors have shared their favorite fiction writing tips for the budding novelist, but when you consider something like Hemingway’s “Write drunk. Edit sober.” there obviously remains much to be said. Which brings us to our own list of 5 Fiction Writing Tips for Beginners.
Take these five tips and you’ll be well on your way to completing your first book.
1. Find the Time and a Place to Write
It seems like a no-brainer, but finding the right time and place to write goes far beyond simply carving out a section of your day, and your living room, to get the job done. Instead, what you need to determine is when and where you’ll be the most productive.
Many beginning writers make the mistake of trying to separate the technicality and spirituality of writing. In fact, these two elements need to work together in order for you to be truly successful.
Try finding a place that makes you feel both creative and focused. For some, this might be the kitchen table. Others may seek out a quiet spot in their local coffee shop. Where ever it is, make sure it’s a place that’s open during your peak creative time.
Do you find the words flow more freely in the early morning, when you’re well rested, or at the end of the day, before bed? Find your optimal time and place for writing and you’ll be sure to have that first chapter hammered out in no time.
2. Write What You Know
There’s nothing harder for a beginning writer to do than write about something they know little (or nothing) about. Not to mention, it will be a lot harder for your readers to believe your narrative if the information is thin or inaccurate. That’s why professional authors suggest that you write what you know.
This writing tip can apply to virtually every aspect of your story. If you know a lot about cars, maybe your main character is a mechanic. If you’re not sure where to set your book, you could always model it after your hometown. It’s a lot easier to write about where you live than a place you’ve never been to.
3. Read, Read, Read
Experts agree that one of the best ways to become a better writer is to become a better reader. The more you read, the more you’ll be exposed to good writing. Taking in all that powerful prose is sure to rub off in your own work, so be sure to seek out books that will make you a better writer.
As a testament to this fundamental practice, Hunter S. Thompson reportedly retyped pages of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby in order to learn more about style.
4. Make Writing Part of Your Routine
As with anything new, it takes effort to make writing a habit. If you’re not use to writing every day, it will probably require a certain level of discipline to make it a part of your daily routine. We suggest dedicating a certain amount of time every week or every day that will be committed solely to writing.
Don’t get too hung up on how much time you’re able to dedicate. In fact, if you’re just starting out, less time might be easier than trying to manage writing for five hours a day.
Be realistic and do what works for you.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Explore the Deep Water
Writing can be an extremely intimate and downright scary experience, depending on what you’re writing about. It was famed poet Robert Frost who said, “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”
What Frost was trying to say was don’t be afraid to let go. Instead, let go and let the story tell itself from the place inside you that compels you to write. The honesty that will come out as a result is bound to be your most genuine work.
We hope you enjoyed these fiction writing tips. For more information on fiction writing, be sure to check out the rest of our blog and don’t forget to submit your work to be featured in the next issue of 15th & Oxford magazine.