Tips for Improving Your Fiction Writing

September 9, 2016

It’s a given that writers depend on creativity. But it’s also important to understand good writers depend of studying and working on the craft of writing. Consider these tips as you work on your fiction writing.

  • Develop your characters.  While it’s true genre fiction follows formulas and readers expect the author to write somewhat formulaic, it’s also true readers expect to think about what’s going on in the story, expect substance, and expect to feel something (could be positive or negative) about the characters. You do your reader an injustice if you rely only on plot or fast-paced action in your fiction writing.
  • Take the time to research and learn grammar, punctuation, correct word usage, etc. I’m not saying you need to understand all the rules, but I am saying publishers (and eventually readers, if you get  published) will appreciate reading good writing that isn’t full of errors. You may think you can rely on your publisher’s editors to fix things for you, but you’d be incorrect. They do good work, but you, as author, are ultimately held accountable for the quality of your writing.
  • Strive for quality. The previous tip is a lead-in to this one. Writing is a craft, and you need to constantly work at improving your output. Clearly you want to develop your own voice, offer a good story, and create a reader fan base, but none of these things will happen for you if you don’t offer a quality novel or story.
  • Understand all writing requires editing. You draw on your creativity when you begin writing fiction, but you also need editing before you’re ready to offer your fiction to an agent or publisher. Start by letting your manuscript cool off at least a day, then re-read what you’ve written to see what needs correcting, clarifying, or deleting. If you’re really lucky, you can join a writers group that will give you honest feedback on your writing. After all, you know what you intended to write, but it takes other people to read your writing and let you know if you successfully accomplished your intent. Finally, you can hire an editor to help you, but make sure you hire an editor who edits what you write. Hiring an English teacher/professor or well-read friend doesn’t necessarily get you the quality of feedback/correction you need before offering your fiction for publication.

When  you write fiction, you create the entire world, including the people, the setting, the experiences, and the closure to the story. It’s not easy writing, but it can be rewarding if you work at it. Happy writing!

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