They say everyone has at least one book in them, and I believe it! We all have a story to tell, and it’s my mission to help people do that. Writing my fiction novels is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself, and I want to share that experience with others.
I’ve always been a writer, so writing a book wasn’t too far out of my comfort zone, but I know that it can seem like a daunting prospect, so I’ve complied my top tips for getting started:
1. Start with an idea: This sounds a bit obvious, but it’s the grain of sand that creates the pearl. Even if it’s just a concept, character, setting, plot or even one piece of dialogue, use that as a starting point and then flesh out the rest of your story.
2. Plan your story: Once you have an idea, start planning your story. Create an outline of the plot and the key events that will happen. This will help you stay organized and focused as you write. In reality it doesn’t always play out that simply, but it gives you an anchor to return to if the creative flow takes you off-course.
3. Develop your characters: Your characters are the heart of your story, so take the time to develop them fully. Give them personalities, motivations, and backstories that will make them interesting and relatable to your readers. I find myself embodying them at times, testing out their accents or body language. Putting myself into their shoes and feeling into how they would respond to certain situations.
4. Show, don't tell: One of the cardinal rules of fiction writing is to show, not tell. This means using descriptive language and vivid imagery to create a picture in your reader's mind, rather than simply telling them what's happening. I’ll be honest, this is the one that I struggle most with. Having come from a screenwriting background, I often find myself using more functional language than descriptive, but I hope that I’m improving with each book!
5. Use dialogue effectively: Dialogue is a powerful tool in fiction writing, so use it to your advantage. Make sure your characters' conversations sound natural and help move the story forward. If in doubt, talk it out. Read the conversation out loud, like a script. You can quickly see where the holes are, or if it’s feeling stilted.
6. Edit and revise: Writing is a process, so don't be afraid to edit and revise your work. Take a break between drafts to gain some distance and perspective on your writing, and then go back and make revisions as needed. It also helps to get extra sets of eyes on your first draft. When you’ve been immersed in your story, you start to lose perspective and things can slip though the gaps because you know it so intimately.
7. Read widely: Finally, to become a better fiction writer, read widely. Read books in your genre, but also read outside your comfort zone. Study how other writers craft their stories and learn from their techniques and styles. BUT… don’t use reading to avoid writing! I had to ban myself from picking up any more books until I finished my first book, because I was ‘researching’ instead of working.
Writing a fiction book can be a challenging but rewarding experience. By following these tips and staying committed to your writing, you can create a compelling story that engages and entertains your readers.
For me, the biggest factor is the sense of accomplishment and the knowledge that I’m leaving something behind when I’m gone. I’ve contributed to the world in this small but creative way, and my books will still be out there long after I’m gone.
So please, take the leap and get writing. Honestly, it’s not as hard as you think.
If you've already written your book but don't know how to get it out into the world, jump on over to our publishing page and see how we can help turn your dream into a reality! www.brandartisans.com.au/publishing