Tips For Writing Engaging Fiction Stories
For many people craving a creative outlet, fiction writing can be a great place to start. It allows the author to be completely free and tell any story he or she might choose, without having to stick to facts or even physics. But flexing the right half of the brain and getting the creative juices flowing can be difficult for some.
Following these few simple tips can help spice up anyone’s writing.
1. Start with tension, not action. Many authors will start their work with action, trying to draw the reader in. For a twist, begin with tension to make the reader relate faster to the main character.
2. Understand your audience. Knowing what type of person (gender, age, race, and so on) is your target audience will help you to connect better with the readers. Use syntax and diction to make your writing seem natural and comfortable to them, thus making it easier to read.
3. End each chapter on a cliff. There is a reason your favorite TV shows end each season with a huge cliffhanger. It makes the audience want more. They think about what is going to happen to their favorite character all summer long. Try this in your next book to leave your readers begging for the next chapter.
Daryl Harrison is the author of the popular indie mystery crime thriller The Waiting Game. Daryl wrote 90% of his first draft in one night, finishing it within the week. He was inspired to write while teaching grade school in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. Daryl Harrison now lives in New York where he is continuing to pursue his writing career.
Importance of the Re-Write
When writing fiction novels, many rookie and first time writers often make the mistake of believing that the first words that come tumbling out of their heads are the best ones. The reality of that is that often when you are focusing more on the creative aspect, the actual technical writing part can suffer. This isn’t the end of the world however, it just means that you have crafted the bones of your work, and now you need to work on the flesh. That is basically what a re-write is, simply retranslating your story and making sure that all of the ideas brewing in your head made it down on to paper in a way that is easy to follow and understand, as well as be engaging. Don’t think of the re-write as changing or adapting your story because it is not good enough, think of it as refining it and polishing the edges to make it more accommodating. Think of your manuscript as an unrefined and unprocessed good like wheat for instance. Wheat itself isn’t very useful, but when you grind it up in a mill you get flour, which can create delicious and nutritious bread. The same is true for your book, you just need some refinement.
Once you have finished the creative phase of writing, entering the re-write stage is a kind of editing process where you make sure that there is not any plot holes or lack of motivation, contradictory ideologies or physical world principles. Think about it as editing the grammar of your creativity, making sure it is all logical.
Daryl Harrison is a self-published author who learned the value of re-writing his work before releasing it.
How to Write Fiction - Know Your Genre
The word “genre” means different things to different people. For readers, knowing they are reading a kind of book in a certain genre creates expectations. Readers of crime fiction know what to expect before they even open the book: there will be a crime, and by the end of the book, they’ll know who did it and why. For writers, “genre” is a set of rules they have to follow with their characters, their plotlines, and other factors that they know their readers will be expecting when they pick up their book. For authors to be considered writers of a particular genre, they have to follow a set of guidelines and rules in order satisfy their readers.
This is just to say that as a writer, you have to know your audience. This is true for any kind of writing, not just fiction. For fiction writers of any kind of genre, reading extensively in that genre is required to enter it. If you don’t know the rules of mystery writing, how can you expect to execute it well enough to get published? If you don’t want to be bogged down by rules and expectations, that’s okay, it just means you’re a literary fiction writer, and you can create your own rules. It may be more difficult to find a readership, however.
Daryl Harrison is a budding mystery writer whose debut novel, The Waiting Game centers around a nervous detective awaiting a trial for a crime he didn’t commit, and his unending quest for the truth of his case, no matter where it takes him.
How to Write Fiction - Show Don’t Tell
An adage that all Creative Writing teachers hammer into their students is “show don’t tell.” Compelling writing creates a new reality in the reader’s mind. Good fiction creates a dream world for the reader that they can lose themselves in. The only way to consistently paint a new reality for your readers is to show details and characterization rather than simply telling your reader everything in your story. Essays are perfect for telling and not showing, because, as a writer, you are trying to make a compelling argument for your reader, not create a whole new reality for the reader the way the fiction does.
When creating your characters and your plot, show your readers the important parts of your characters without telling them explicitly all the parts of your character. A good way to show important aspects of your characters is with the details of the setting they notice, how they talk with each other, and the actions they take to achieve their goals. “Show don’t tell” is a balance. At certain points, you have to tell your readers certain details of the story in order to continue the story and propel the plot forward.
Daryl Harrison self-published his debut novel, The Waiting Game, late last year. Even though it was his first attempt at long fiction, Harrison earned the praise of many critics, and his book has sold hundreds of thousands of copies in print and in digital form. Harrison lives in New York and says that he hopes the success of his first novel will create a niche for his next novel.
How to Write Fiction - Get in Character
Creating compelling characters is sometimes the most difficult part of a fiction writers’ job. There have been all kinds of characters throughout the history of great fiction, and all of them didn’t develop overnight. Authors have to pour over their characters constantly in order to fully “know” them and inhabit their bodies and minds. This is very difficult if you have characters in your book that are different ages, genders, or ethnicity than you. All the differences that separate real people can separate you from your characters as well. There is no right way to inhabit your characters, but some authors like to journal from the perspective of their characters. This puts you in the mind of the day-to-day life of your character in ways that character sketches, while helpful, cannot. This exercise is a perfect way to create a backstory for a character without spending pages and pages explaining it all in your manuscript.
When actors get in character, they often want to know what their characters think about at all times or they try to imagine themselves as that character in different situations that may not come up in their performance. Journaling in their characters’ voices is a great way to inhabit a character for a while.
Daryl Harrison is the author of The Waiting Game, a thriller about a detective who uncovers the truth about his upcoming trial for a crime he didn’t commit. Harrison successfully self-published The Waiting Game, but he plans on seeking representation for his next novel.
How To Write Great Fiction Dialogue
For many up and coming writers, generating believable and organic dialogue can often be a very difficult task, something that takes time and effort to develop. With the proper techniques and a little practice however, you will soon find that creating good dialogue is something that comes naturally, and can almost be self-generated by the book setting, characters, and interactions. Things you should ask yourself when creating good dialogue is, would this character say that to another character? Think about the emotions involved in the subject as well. Do you think your character’s reaction is appropriate? The best way to approach dialogue is to feel out the emotions and concerns of each character. Put yourself in their shoes, put yourself in their situation with their perspectives on life and the dialogue will then generate itself. Creating a good book is all about people’s ability to relate to the situations, something that is driven home by good, organic dialogue. Some can find it difficult to get a characters voice or mood down properly. This may take time, do not be afraid to wait until you fully understand and develop a character to begin writing their dialogue.
If you are still having trouble coming up with what you consider believable dialogue, you can break down your work into smaller parts. Think about each character in the room. Create an elaborate backstory for each of these characters. Doing so will help create a personality, which will make gauging their reactions more natural and easy.
Daryl Harrison is a self-published novelist who has experienced much success with his break-out novel, ‘The Waiting Game.’
Writing Tips - Make it Powerful
When creating a compelling work of fiction, it is best to use copious amounts of emotion, something that should never be in short supply in your stories. Remember to keep the struggle alive, there should never be a point where the characters in your novel are not struggling in one respect or another, as it is at that point that the story is over. One mistake that many rookie writers make is that they become so attached to their own characters that they are afraid to make them go through any real trials or dangers that would hurt them. This kind of attachment becomes dangerous for a work because it prevents you from making an interesting and dynamic story with realistic elements simply because you like a character. The fact of the matter is you have to get over that part of yourself that hesitates to bring harm to your precious work. You have to be willing to look at the story and examine what is most likely to happen in the scenario that you created. For instance, say that you have a character who becomes stranded on a dead space station drifting into space with a limited oxygen supply that is running out. Instead of making some very unlikely tale about another ship passing by at just the right time to save them, just kill the character. It sounds hard, but that is the harsh reality of life, so your story should be no different.
If you don’t want to kill the character that much, make it really hard then. Say they spent months aboard the ship on the brink of starvation and insanity until they got caught in the gravitational pull of a planet. Then say they crash land on the foreign and unknown planet, breaking their legs as they stumble out of the wreckage. These are the real struggles that will fascinate your readers.
Daryl Harrison is a self-published writer who has sold thousands of books.
The Power of the Allegory
When creating fiction writing it is important to understand why you are creating it in the first place. Whether you believe it or not, your work of fiction never simply had the purpose of entertaining your audience, though you certainly want that to happen as well, just as an ancillary side-effect. The real purpose of your novel is to have a point, a message and a general thesis that it is trying to get across. What your fiction novel really is, when it all boils down, is a very elaborate allegory. An allegory is a story with a point, something that was utilized by many famous philosophers to great effect. The allegory is powerful because a story is basically just a very sophisticated argument, one that is told by using the realistic stories and setting that make the point more poignant and powerful. We have all heard that the pen is mightier than the sword, but have you ever wondered why? It is because the pen is what prompts the swords into action. This is why storytelling is so important and powerful, because it is a kind of call-to-action to life, to shed light upon a certain situation or idea. A good fiction piece will leave you contemplating for days about the deeper message.
The power of the allegory is very apparent because when you look back on all of the most meaningful lessons you have learned, the most impressionable ones probably came to you in a story-like form.
Fiction Writing Tips - Introducing Your Story
You have a great idea for a book and you want to write it. What do you do now? You have to expand on your idea and flesh out the book so you can get the major characters, elements and plot set.
Starting with a summary paragraph is a great way to help you understand what you want to write and what direction you want your book to go in. Your first sentence should give the backdrop and set up the story. The following three sentences should cover major plot items. Your last sentence should be used to sum up the ending of the book.
Many authors believe in a “Three-Act Structure” for novels. The first act sets the stage for the book, painting a picture of the characters and setting as well as setting up for the first major disaster or event to the plot; with the culmination of the event being the end of the act. The second event or disaster should happen mid-way through act 2. The end of act 2 introduces the third event and sets up for act 3, where the story is wrapped up.
This summary should not be used for your dust cover summary. That should only include the first quarter of your story so readers want to buy the book to find out what happens. This summary paragraph can be used for your own benefit to keep on track with the story or for your book proposal to publishers.
However, many authors choose not to go through a publishing house to get their work out. They advocate for self-publishing. Daryl Harrison is the successful author of The Waiting Game, who decided to self-publish.
You’ve Got Style!
Writing good fiction depends on the writer’s ability to craft a story that readers want to invest their time and energy reading. One of the aspects of a novel that help draws reader in are the characters. Books are filled with many different types of individuals and they all play an important role.
First off, it’s important to understand what a character is. A character is a participant in the story, usually a person, but can be any identity, entity or persona. There are several different types.
First, and maybe the most commonly known, is the protagonist. This person is the main character of the story. You should try to make your readers identify with this person and care about what happens to them. The protagonist is often referred to as the “good guy,” however there can also be an antihero as the main character.
You can’t have a protagonist without an antagonist. This is the character who opposes the main character. Although typically thought of as the “bad guy” there can be elements of good in an antagonist too. In many stories the protagonist and antagonist have to face off in some type of fight or battle, with the protagonist typically winning.
There is also the point-of-view character. This is the person through whom the story is viewed. Although they are often the main character, they do not have to be.
Daryl Harrison is a fiction writer who lives in New York with his wife, Abby Raines. Daryl is a successful self-published author.
Many people may feel the inspiration to write a book. They may even have an idea for the plot already. But most people don’t end up actually writing it. It is common to push off writing to wait for the right time to start writing. The best advice is: stop waiting and start writing.
There will never be a perfect time to start that book you have wanted to write for years. As the saying goes, “a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” This too is how you have to start to write.
You may have to push yourself to write. It takes lots of mental and emotional energy, especially if you put a lot of feeling behind your work. Just get behind the keyboard and start typing. It doesn’t have to be cohesive or even make much sense, just get the writing juices flowing and it will get easier.
Try making a commitment to writing two hours a week. If you start by dedicating a small amount of time to your passion, instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media sites, you will be closer than ever to accomplishing your dream of finally telling your story.
Daryl Harrison is the author of The Waiting Game, a popular crime thriller. Daryl was a school teacher when he wrote his book and spent a week straight writing to complete his first draft. He was living in his home town of Omaha, Nebraska but recently moved to New York to further advance his writing career.