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4 Ways To Practice For Indie Fiction Authors

Have you ever heard the phrase ‘practice makes perfect’?

While it’s impossible to ever become a perfect writer, if you want to get as close to that as possible, you’re going to need to practice.

Sometimes, as authors, we get so wrapped up in our stories and novels that we forget to stop and take the time to consciously practice. 

Although working on your main project is absolutely a form of practice, it isn’t the only one that is beneficial to your skills and talents. 

If you’re looking for more ways to improve, this article has got you covered. 

Read on to discover four effective forms of practice to help you become a better fiction author.

Write a narrative from your life 

The great thing about using your life as a source of material for your writing is it’s an endless well to draw from, and one which no one else has full access to.

Your life is a treasure trove of story ideas waiting to be unpacked. 

Often, when people write about their life, it becomes almost like a diary. That’s fine, but perhaps not the best style to help you prepare for your other fiction projects.

Instead, why not try writing an event from your life in a narrative writing style.

Narrative writing is an incredible way of writing that adds power to nonfiction stories. You can check out some of the finest examples of the style here.

When any writer writes, they are effectively writing about their life in one way or another. So why not put that idea into practice by getting adept at narrative writing?

If you’re not sure which part of your life to write about, consider these prompts:

  1. Write about the happiest day of your life
  2. Write about the funniest thing that ever happened to you
  3. Write about a time you were in danger

Even mundane events from your life can be good practice for narrative writing. Learning how to write about real events in this style will make your fiction writing even more believable and gripping for readers.

Try short stories and flash fiction

Does the thought of writing a full novel feel too overwhelming at the moment?

No worries!

There are plenty shorter forms of writing that give you a great chance to practice. 

Of course, if you want to go really granular, you can work on writing exercises that cover sentences and other tiny sections of writing.

But, if you want something a little more substantial without the burden of an entire novel, you have options!

Writing short stories is one of the best ways to get a feel for character, craft, and plot without having to invest as much time into one project. Flash fiction is even shorter, allowing you to write a large number of finished stories in a fraction of the time a novel would take.

Use a new writing tool for inspiration

When you think of writing software, what comes to mind?

Maybe you’ve always used a fairly functional piece of writing software like MS Word or Google Docs and have never felt the need to look for something else. 

While there’s no need to switch software for your main writing projects, using something new can help you break outside of your comfort zone and practice effectively.

For example, there are some writing tools that allow you to block out all distractions and write to meditative sounds. There are others that give you advanced planning capabilities, like Scrivener and yWriter. Some options even force you to write at a particular pace or your words start vanishing from the screen. 

You can use these options to do things like plot different story structures, work on a large list of scenes and characters, or simply improve your ability to write under pressure.

Who knows…you might even find a tool you like so much you end up switching to it!

Attain proficiency at a new literary element 

There are so many literary elements and devices out there to learn about and practice. Sadly, for many of us, the last time we gave many of them much thought at all was during our time in education.

While literary elements should be used sparingly, they are definitely a useful way of spicing up your fiction when needed.

However, before you jump in and start adding lots of literary techniques to your writing, make sure you practice them properly first. Using a literary technique badly might distract from your book’s merits and spoil the experience for readers entirely. 

If you’re not sure how to practice using a particular element, try these steps as a guideline:

  1. Learn about the basics of the literary element and its purpose
  2. Find examples of it being used well in fiction, preferably in your preferred genre if possible
  3. Find examples of it being used badly so you know what to avoid
  4. Complete some exercises to get practical experience with the literary device
  5. Consider how you could use the device you’re now comfortable with in your current or next major fiction writing project

Practicing the use of unfamiliar literary techniques is the perfect way to keep yourself interested and engaged in fiction writing. Not to mention it might add a little something special to your next book!

Written by: Chandler

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