Top 10 Fiction Writing Tips

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                                Top 10 Fiction Writing Tips
                                                      By Rowdy Rhodes




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  this file nor the contents within. The following information is to be used to expand your knowledge of writing however use of the
provided information is not intended to guarantee employment nor income. We are not liable in any way whatsoever by your use of
                                           the suggestions and content you are about to read.
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Because I write for a living I quite often get asked "How do you write so much?", "Why do you write?",
"Where do your stories come from?", "Where did you learn to write?" and a dozen other questions.

The question that is the bane of many writers if they are writing in multiple genres is "What do you write?"
My answers depend upon my mood. Sometimes I answer politely and honestly. Other times well, I won't
repeat what I said here. Tip: Don't ask writers what they write. They'll tell you if they want you to know.

What you want to know about is fiction writing. That's why you're reading this, right?

OK. Here are some of my suggestions:

Fiction writing, whether it be a short story, novella, or novel takes a great deal of imagination as well as
logical conclusions to your story, but at all times it should be enjoyable to write. If you don't enjoy writing,
don't start because you're not going to make a fortune putting words on paper.

The following 10 tips should help you along your way to getting a good story written, to keep your readers
absorbed, and keep them interested in what you have created.

                             1) Poor Writing Is Not Bad

                             I don't profess that you ignore the writing you created that you know is not very
    The key to               good. It's important that you improve your writing skills and that is 75% "just keep
  writing well is            writing" and 25% constantly listening to feedback and continued learning
  perseverance,              wherever you find something that you didn't know. While writing though never self-
   patience and              edit, backtrack or re-read what you have written to any large degree until your first
   persistence.              draft is completed. Then go back and re-write what you have written to make it
                             read even better. One thing to always remember never write for the reader and
                             never compare your writing to someone else's. Just keep writing - you will get
                             better by relaxing and letting the story flow our from within your imagination.


                             2) Why Do Your Characters Exist?

                             Every story you create has a specific number of characters. Those characters
   Characters,               need a reason to be in the story. As an example "Rosemary was walking through
  much like you,             her grandmother's garden after arriving with her parents for a family visit."
  need a reason              Rosemary has multiple reasons for being a character (whether minor or major) in
   to exist in a             this story. She's there visiting her grandmother with her parents. Everything you
                             write should have a reason for being there. If you think of your own life as you
      story.                 simply walk down a street the vast majority of people and items you see have a
                             reason for being there. This existence is termed "sub-plot" in writing. Every story
                             has this otherwise the characters are flat, making no sense to the reader for being
                             in the story. Ensure when writing a sub-plot it fits in with the overall story.


                             3) Writers Bleed Into Their Stories

                             It is said that in every good story there is a piece of the author and this is so true
   Writing well              that it may very well be one of the most important tips you can learn - give of
   means you                 yourself. I don't mean write about yourself, I mean use or draw upon your own
   have to give              emotions and past experiences to help create feelings in your characters.
    of yourself              Whether that emotion be love, hate, the smell of pleasant odours, the enjoyment
   everything.               you experience when your favourite song comes on the radio.

                             These are your emotions, but they can be used, when described in full, as an
                             emotion being felt by one of your characters. "Mary walked into the family room




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  this file nor the contents within. The following information is to be used to expand your knowledge of writing however use of the
provided information is not intended to guarantee employment nor income. We are not liable in any way whatsoever by your use of
                                           the suggestions and content you are about to read.
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and found to her surprise her favourite song playing on the radio. It reminded her
of her love and loss of her very first boyfriend and how deeply she had been hurt when he dumped her to
start dating a cheerleader." Have you ever been dumped? Remember how it feels? Describe it in full and
place it into one of your characters.

That's why writers bleed when they write. They delve into their own pleasant and unpleasant emotions and
experiences, placing them within their stories to make the story real, usually allowing the reader to relate.
After all, who hasn't been dumped?


                             4) Cliché's and Stereotypes
    There's no
   better way to        Avoid cliché's and stereotypes like they're plague. "It rained cats and dogs", "The
                        sheriff wore a white Stetson" "The hero was tall, dark and handsome" all of these
     kill a story
                        will kill a story faster than the plague. The problem is that we've all read or heard
    than to use         them more times than we care to recall. If your audience are children you might be
   cliché's and         able to get away with the adage or make the hero dressed in white and the bad
   stereotypes.         guy dressed in black, but even then, these days that is not always the case.
                        Batman dresses all in black and he's a good guy. Superman wore blue,
                        Spiderman, red. The point is making up your own expressions and characters.
                        With plenty of imagination you can certainly stay away from stereotypical
individuals and dress. Of course, some fiction requires specific dress such as historical fiction where you
can't place an 18th century character in 21st century clothing. Doesn't fly.


                             5) Character Descriptions and Traits

     In-depth           I use a Character Questionnaire (CQ) that an author friend of mine Helen Dunn
    character           Frame http://www.helendunnframe.com created and made available for all authors
   descriptions         to use. You can contact her at her web site or you can (at time of publication) find
  and their traits      the questionnaire at Inkwell Newswatch Writer's Publication's Archives (and a
  are one of the        thousand other articles about writing) at
    keys to a           http://www.fwointl.com/artman/exec/view.cgi?archive=23&num=513. If you want to
   good story.          search around their archive you can go directly to their search engine
                        http://www.fwointl.com/artman/exec/search.cgi to find thousands of articles. Just
                        type in e.g. plot and choose a year e.g. 2005 and all articles dealing with plot will
be displayed. I suggest you set the number of articles for display to be set to 25, not the default five.

Finding the right weight or amount of description about a character is up to the author, but don't provide it
all at once. She's 5'4", blonde hair, blue eyes, usually wears jeans and T-shirts, because of a childhood
accident she requires eyeglasses to read but has no problem with her distance sight, she likes sneakers
over hard soled shoes, etc, etc, You've just bored yourself out of your mind. At least I have. And if we're
bored odds are your reader is bored as well.

Many of these items can be worked in as your story develops. The character's basic look can be given
early or later in your story. It all depends on you and your style of writing. Many writers leave some
character traits up to the reader to imagine or the writer will refer to them during another character's
observation of the first character. "Upon meeting Mr. Peterson she immediately noticed the bulbous, red
nose of a chronic alcoholic". That observation could link in with an earlier character trait that you have
worked into the story that Mr. Peterson was a heavy drinker.

One thing for sure, especially if you are writing a long story, is that having a CQ will always allow you to
refer back to forgotten traits such as did he have a scar on the left side or right side of his chin? It's easy to
forget when you're writing. Remembering birthdays, locations, settings all can be helped by having a CQ
nearby.

The CQ also helps you imagine what your characters look like. How they would react in certain situations
(a timid character would rarely be a hero type). Also, having the CQ on each character, if you ever decide

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  this file nor the contents within. The following information is to be used to expand your knowledge of writing however use of the
provided information is not intended to guarantee employment nor income. We are not liable in any way whatsoever by your use of
                                           the suggestions and content you are about to read.
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to write a series of novels or stories it will always be there over the years so you don't forget that Mr.
Peterson was a heavy drinker.

This section is by no means a full course on how to develop characters and their traits, however another
way is to close your eyes and picture the person. What they look like and wear. Try and imagine
everything from eye colour to the types of jewelry they're wearing that "day" and jot it all down on a CQ.


                             6) Work on your dialogue

        Every                Dialogue is not easy to write.
      character
   must have a               It's easy to write your dialogue, you know how you speak, but try writing the
  unique form of             proper dialogue of an aristocratic heir to the Throne of England!
   talking much
    like you do.             Each of your characters, based upon your answers in your CQ will talk and react
                             in a certain way.

                      Our notorious Mr. Peterson will slur, another character may be well educated
using words you would not normally use in your day-to-day dialogue.

It's not your speech the reader wants to hear in their head, it's your character's speech.

For me, I've always found it best to take a deep breath, bring the character to mind, say the sentence out
loud with any accents or slurs, and then write it.

If you can't bring to mind the aristocrat, then search on the Internet for formal speeches they may have
made or on places like YouTube where you can listen to the dialect. Television and movies are another
great source for speech. Combine all of these together and you will come up with unique dialogue for each
of your characters.

Combining it with slight descriptions of how the dialogue was said also helps get across to the reader what
the person sounds like.

The Cockney said "I was downright in the dumpers after she left me for that other bloke." to his companion
at the bar.

                             7) Read, Read, Read
  Writers read a             Why do writers offering advice always say "write, write, write" and "read, read,
    lot of books,            read"?
   stories, etc. in
  order to better            It's simple. The first is practice. The more you write the better your writing will
  their writing by           become and after 10 years you'll look back at what you wrote in your first year and
  studying other             blush with embarrassment.
  writers' styles.
                         The second part, reading, is so you can begin to appreciate the actual structure of
                         various writers' writing and the way they go about suspending your reality while
you read their work. After all, that's what writers do, they suspend your reality and imprint theirs on you
while you're reading their work.

Personally I try and read a book twice. One time for the enjoyment and once to dissect the way the writer
wrote it. To discover how the writer made my reality disappear. What type of sentence structure? How
were the characters introduced to me? Why did the writer convince me to believe the story? All of this is in
your hands when you read. It just depends on which way you read the book or story.

With the second reading I force myself not to get drawn into the story. I become a literary forensic expert
dissecting every sentence. Does it take time? Is it hard? Yes. But all good things usually are and once you
learn the art of suspending another person's reality you'll never forget it.
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  this file nor the contents within. The following information is to be used to expand your knowledge of writing however use of the
provided information is not intended to guarantee employment nor income. We are not liable in any way whatsoever by your use of
                                           the suggestions and content you are about to read.
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Most writers when reading will want to use a phrase or take a well-turned sentence then try and fit it into
their own work. My advice is to find your own way. Don't depend on other writers' skills. Don't worry; Your
brain will bring you the right phrase or word when the time comes and it will be yours, not taken from
someone else's work.

I've found in the past that if I do take a piece from someone else, to me it diminishes my work because
even though the reader may not (you hope not) recognize the style, I know it's not mine and somehow that
takes the satisfaction of creation away from me. I feel as if I can't truthfully say that I wrote it when their
pieces are in there.

With that said, if you're unsure about how to write about a situation and can't find great words to describe,
let's say a waterfall in the middle of a jungle there's nothing wrong with reading about waterfalls and the
jungle. Just don't copy or plagiarize what has already been written.

The scenes you read about the waterfalls will give you the knowledge you need to create your own
waterfall. So research is a lot different than plagiarism. Something you should never forget. And you will
do a lot of research.


                             8) Be Thick Skinned
   The creative
                             Bill Cosby, and I paraphrase, once said "There is one sure fire way to failure and
  arts are one of            that's attempting to please everyone."
   the toughest
   industries so             You will have critics who will either shred your work or constructively critique the
  you also have              piece.
    to be tough.
                             For the shredders, ignore them (there are a few other words I'd like to use here
                             about shredders however I know the censors won't let me).

The constructive criticism though is something you should pay very serious heed to. Even if you don't use
what has been suggested the suggestions provide you the opportunity to objectively see your work
through the eyes of others (the readers). Their opinions do count.

It also gives you the chance to improve your writing even further and faster than if you were on your own.
So find a trustworthy person who will read your work and critique it without bias. It's like finding a finished
50-carat diamond!

See if you can find someone without any hidden agendas and have them proof-read your work before you
send it to a publisher. Listen to your proof-reader/editor and take another look at your work through their
eyes. See if any of their suggestions can enhance your story. You'll be glad you did.

You'll also find critique groups on the Internet however my problem with them is that I don't know these
people so I tend to shy away from this style of critique. If it works for you, then great go for it! But always
listen with an open mind and a thick skin because sometimes what is said may seem cruel however the
proof-reader/editor is trying to help make a better story for you. And normally it doesn't cost you a cent.


                             9) First Drafts
    Remember
    that there's             I started this article off with "Poor Writing Is Not Bad" because you should never
    not a writer,            worry about spelling or grammar in a first draft. Just allow your words to freely
   alive or dead,            pour on to the page. You'll have a chance to re-visit and clean it all up later. The
   who has ever              most important thing is to get the story out. You can fill in the gaps and take out
      written a              the crap later.
    perfect first
                             I believe it was Ernest Hemmingway who said, "When I write a first draft it's like
        draft.               vomiting words on to a page. Then I have to clean it up. But first I put it aside for a
                             few days, then come back to the story so that I have a fresh perspective."
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  this file nor the contents within. The following information is to be used to expand your knowledge of writing however use of the
provided information is not intended to guarantee employment nor income. We are not liable in any way whatsoever by your use of
                                           the suggestions and content you are about to read.
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   This File May Be Freely Distributed As Long As The Complete Content, Footer And Header Are Left Intact And Not Modified.
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To clean up what you wrote, first run it through Word or a spell and grammar checker. It will catch a lot of
the problems. Then read it and every place you can remove words like "and", "but", "understand?" (When
they're not used in dialogue) then do it and replace them with periods. You may have to re-write a few
sentences to do this but it will tighten your writing for better reading.

As you read through the story you'll find holes needing filling and areas that need to expand. Make notes
for later reference. You'll re-write your piece at least three times before giving it to a proof-reader/editor.

Make sure to watch out for items that a spell checker will miss like the use of the words: Sea and See.

Last but not least, if you know someone who is an expert in grammar, certainly allow him or her to read
your work. A person like that can be extremely valuable. Your proof-reader/editor should also be very well
versed in grammar, punctuation and the lot. You are not necessarily looking for friends here (although
friends are always nice to have especially if they are established authors willing to help) you are looking
for people who can make your work read as well as it can possibly read.

After they have gone through it all, read through their notes and learn. It will ease the load on them with
your future writing because again your writing will improve. As an example this article has been read and
re-written 6 times before it showed up here. 1. While I was writing it. 2. Re-reading and editing spelling
and grammar manually. 3. Re-reading after running it through a grammar and spell checker. 4. Putting it
away for a few days, the re-reading and tightening the sentence structure. 5. Having it proof-read and
edited. 6. One final read before posting it here and putting my name on it.


                             10) In Closing
    Enjoy your
                             Writing is meant to be enjoyable. Whoever said it wasn't supposed to be fun was
    writing - for            an idiot (See? I get to say "idiot") and I don't even know who said it in the first
    life is but a            place. lol If it was you please don't sue me - it's just a joke. Again, I'm just
       fleeting              frolicking a little with words in the closing before I let you go.
    moment in
  time not to be             Have fun with writing. If you are writing strictly for the money then you're going to
       wasted.               be pretty disappointed. Artistic, creative people tend not to earn all that much
                             contrary to popular belief. Almost every writer I know has a part-time job to
                             supplement his or her income.

If you don't having that gnawing, gut wrenching desire to put words on paper and play with the words so
that what you've written will bring someone else joy or knowledge, then you might as well quit while you're
ahead. You'll have more fun reading than writing.

Then there are those of us who just simply enjoy the act of writing ... such as myself. I've truly enjoyed
writing this piece and I hope that you've gained some knowledge from it.

Remember ... Relax! Write! Have Fun!




The Freelance Writing Organization - Int'l http://www.fwointl.com its associates and owners do not take responsibility for your use of
  this file nor the contents within. The following information is to be used to expand your knowledge of writing however use of the
provided information is not intended to guarantee employment nor income. We are not liable in any way whatsoever by your use of
                                           the suggestions and content you are about to read.

				
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Description: The following 10 tips should help you along your way to getting a good story written, keep your readers absorbed and interested in the fiction you have created. Download this ebook and use it yourself.
About I am self-published writer using my real name, pseudonyms and PLRs as well as an Internet marketer. I also "dabble" in the stock market, which supplements my income. At age 51 [2011] I am financially independent and find myself with a growing desire to share some of the knowledge I have gained over the years either first-hand or through accessible books I have been extremely fortunate to have read.