Fiction Writing

Posted on by

I write a lot of fiction. I read several orders of magnitude more than I write. In this section, you will find articles about writing fiction (which should be evident from the tab). Everything from characterization to prose and formatting, along with my personal experiences in writing (including things that inevitably drive me nuts) will be found in this section.

Since the number of posts on fiction writing was rapidly approaching ridiculous, I’ve separated them further into smaller and narrower categories, found below. Or, if you want to browse through all of them, simply click the “All Fiction Writing” sub-menu above.

General Fiction Writing, which contains articles about drafting, formatting and editing.

Plot Construction and Characterization, which includes articles concerning plots and their creation, as well as handy advice on how not to make an interesting character.

Tools, Methods and Tips, which covers literary devices and creative solutions to common problems.

Below you’ll find the five latest fiction writing articles.

    Story Length: Why You Shouldn't Worry

    Throughout a longish college career, I spoke to a couple dozen other writers, young and old, new and experienced. We talked about habits and methods, shared anecdotes on the Dreaded Writer's Block and how to overcome it, and generally kibitzed with each other. We'd discuss the things we were working on at the time, and humbly brag about how amazing we all were.

    One of the most jarringly divisive topics turned out to be the length of stories, especially novels. I was kind of shocked to see how strongly some of these writers felt about the subject.

    Click here to read more

    Dialogue: How to Write Interesting Conversations

    People like reading dialogue. Most readers tend to not actually read every word that's on each page of a story; they skip over sections of description, picking up a sentence here or there so that they can get the gist of it. But, by and large, every word of dialogue that's written is usually read. Something about the sight of quotation marks catches our eye, and commands our attention. That means that your dialogue is usually the most heavily scrutinized portion of your stories.

    So it had better be good.

    Click here to read more

    Original Ideas: The Thing Nobody Can Make For You

    Every writer has been there. Every. Single. One. It doesn't matter if you're as prolific as Stephen King or as agonizingly slow as George R.R. Martin (still waiting on Book Six, you know). It is going to happen to you eventually, and, if you love writing, you'll be desperate to fix it. So you go ahead and read some dandy articles on Top Six Story Idea Generators and you follow the advice you're given.

    And, of course, it doesn't friggin' work.

    Click here to read more

    Author Overreach: How to Lose a Reader in Ten Pages or Less

    It isn't enough for some authors to tell us about their characters or the setting when they're working on a story. They can't limit themselves to just a bit of background information. No. In order for them to tell you about this world that they have created, they need to tell you about each of its Kings and Queens. From the beginning of the monarchy. In order. And in excruciating detail. Also, how the monarchy was formed. And the attempted revolution three hundred years before the current story takes place. But don't worry about that revolution, because it didn't work. You know what else didn't work? When notable citizen Mark Lingtree thought it would be a good idea to try to bring metal carriage wheels to market fifty years before the story began. It wasn't that they were designed poorly, you understand-- they worked quite well, but they were hard to manufacture, and delivery times were too long. Speaking of things that were too long, did you...

    I think you get it. This is an author who needs an intervention, because it is entirely possible to give too much detail when you're writing a story.

    Click here to read more

    Creative Cowardice: The Scourge of Good Stories

    If there's one thing that annoys me more than anything else in terms of fiction, it's when an otherwise good story is ruined by the creator's cowardice. It drags down a story that has kept my attention, one that had me hungry for more content, and sometimes? It makes me disregard other material that the creator already has out there. What's worse? It seems to get more prevalent with each passing year.

    Today, I'm going to step up onto a soapbox and explain to you why you need to stick out your jaw, and own your work.

    Click here to read more