self-publishing success for indie aiuthors


4 Ways to Make Fiction Manageable

One of the beautiful things about self-publishing is it makes our lifelong dreams more achievable than ever before.

When we were kids, it seemed as if nothing would hold us back from writing books similar to the ones that brought joy to our lives. However, we grew up and realized that the publishing industry existed to hold most people back from becoming an author.

Self-publishing changed that.

Suddenly, the ability to write words and reach readers was available to everyone.

If you’re the kind of writer who has always dreamed of writing fiction, there’s never been a better time to jump in and see what kind of story you’re capable of.

But where to start? How do you get going with something as big and complicated as fiction?

Here are a few ways to make your fiction dream manageable. 

Start with a small section of a story

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the feeling that becoming a fiction author is something you can actually do for real. 

But it’s also easy to end up channeling that excitement into a project that is simply too big to succeed for a brand new writer.

If you’ve never really written fiction before, attempting to go from aspiring writer to full-length novelist might be too much of a stretch. It’s definitely possible for some people, but you might want to start with something a little less complicated.

Instead of writing a full fiction novel, why not start by practicing with a small section of a story?

If you’re not sure what this would look like, consider:

  • Crafting a captivating intro section that you may or may not later expand into a full story
  • Writing an epic action scene from the middle of a larger plot
  • Practicing an emotional conclusion without having to write all the build up

It’s a little bit like learning to cook an individual dish before attempting a full multi-course meal.

Weave in the literary magic that fascinates you most

If you only remember one thing when you are brand new to writing fiction, remember this – there truly are no rules!

You don’t have to write to impress anyone. Or live up to their expectations. There’s no need for that whatsoever.

Instead, you have total liberty to have as much fun as you can. Write without judging yourself or worrying what anyone else at all would think.

You can also use literary techniques in excess and abundance. 

Whereas ‘respectable’ writing advice tends to suggest using hyperbole, imagery and metaphors in limited amounts, you can go totally overboard when you’re practicing fiction for the fun of it.

Forget what ‘good’ fiction looks like. Instead, just write the fiction that brings you joy.

Meet your characters in your mind

The ability to create and craft characters is one of the things that makes fiction writing such a special form of expression.

When you think back to the books you personally love, which characters stand out? Why?

Sometimes, we relate to characters that we see something of ourselves in. Other times, we might not directly have something in common with the characters we read about, but we emphasize with the struggle they go through and the journey we experience when reading about their progression.

The key to both types of characters is for them to be believable and engaging in a way which grips readers and makes them truly care. 

If you want your own fictional characters to have that level of depth and impact, you need to give them plenty of attention to make sure they don’t come across as two-dimensional.

Some of the ways to do this include:

  • Going beyond basic aspects like the name of your character and think about their background and the events that shaped them to be who they are
  • Think about your characters desires and motivations and the things that stand in their way
  • Draw upon elements of people you really know to give your characters convincing traits, mannerisms and quirks 

Ultimately, your character should feel like a real person who would live a life outside of your story. They should feel this way to both yourself and your reader.

When you manage to create believable characters, you have a great chance of capturing the mind of your reader long after they turn the final page.

Make your setting as vivid as possible

Although falling in love with a story’s setting is probably less common than falling in love with its characters, it definitely happens.

Memorable settings come to life in the mind of the reader and feel like actual places.

Think about Hogwarts in Harry Potter or The Overlook Hotel in The Shining, just to give two of many classic examples.

When you first turn your hand to fiction, setting might fall by the wayside compared to plot and character. That’s natural. The story itself is the most important thing.

But, eventually, give some time to working on the craft of story settings.

If you need inspiration, think about the works of fiction that have stayed with you long into your life.

What kind of settings did they have? What about these settings made them memorable? Are there elements of the setting or the language used to describe it that you could use for your own fiction?

Creating a fascinating world for your story to take place in is one of the most enjoyable parts of being a fiction author. Equally, learning to describe realistic settings in an interesting way is also important.

No matter which option you go for, your story’s setting is something that can’t be overlooked and shouldn’t be rushed!

Before you leave…

If you’re excited about the thought of becoming a fiction writer, why not take action right away?

Don’t just click onto something else and leave your fiction dreams in the future.

Try answering these four prompts to get some momentum behind the ideas from this article.

  1. Try and write an opening paragraph in each of your five favorite fiction styles.
  2. Pick one literary technique and write as many examples of it as you can.
  3. Brainstorm six different characters – three good, three bad. 
  4. Write a few paragraphs each for two different types of story setting – one fantastical and one realistic.

You now have some information and inspiration to help make your dream of writing fiction more manageable than ever before.

Written by: Chandler

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