10 Useful Rules For Fiction

By on February 1, 2017
10 Useful Rules For Fiction - Writer's Life.org

Everyone needs a helping hand when it comes to writing their fiction novels. It can be so easy to get caught up in the story that we fall into some pretty bad habits or obvious traps that can make our readers roll their eyes!

For ten quick and straightforward rules for fiction to keep your writing on the straight and narrow, take a look at the below.

1. Carry a notebook everywhere

There is nothing worse than having that ‘eureka’ moment and having no way of writing it down. You think you’ll remember (it’s such a good idea after all, how could you possibly forget?) but by the time you get home, however, much you rack your brain, it has simply gone. Carry a notebook as if it is part of your anatomy. Don’t go anywhere without it and you’ll never let that genius idea escape you again.
2. Use accents sparingly

There is nothing like a good accent to bring an interesting layer to your character. However writing accents well is a serious skill. If you can’t do it, it will ruin your writing. Readers don’t want to find reading your book a mammoth effort. If they are struggling to understand what your character is saying, it will soon get frustrating for them. Only write accents if you are sure you can do it subtly and consistently throughout your book.
3. Write about your life and what you love

It is almost inescapable to refuse to be influenced by what happens in our lives as writers. However fictionalised your book is,  the way you think and feel about things will slip through. Don’t just give into it, tap into it, use what you love, what gets you angry, happy, feeling in love, and bent double with laughter - these authentic life experiences will easily translate to the page, and your readers will lap them up.

4. Don’t over describe

There is nothing worse than fiction stuffed with a lengthy description. You want to create an amazing world for your readers to step into, but if you describe everything you end up forcing the world upon them and making them want to escape it. Describe by all means, but choose your words carefully, make your descriptions arresting and beautiful.
5. Borrow don’t steal

Other writers are there to inspire us, and all stories are, in a way inspired by other ones we read. By all means, read as much as you can, and borrow ideas from other writers work, but there is a fine line between borrowing and stealing, and your readers will more than likely notice if you cross it.
6. Trust your reader

Readers and clever, and they want to like your story. Make it easy for them. You don’t need to tell them everything that is happening, make sure that they can see all that is around them, or tell them how to feel. Trust that if your writing is good enough and your story captivating enough, that they will get it. Readers need room to imagine, to breathe.

7. If you are bored, your readers are bored

Do you have parts of your book that you tend just to skim over? Well, these are the parts you need to pay attention to. Every paragraph, every sentence, ever word should be working, should have its place. If you can’t be bothered to read parts of your story these are the parts that need cutting out or reworking. Otherwise, you’ll lose your readers, and they may not bother coming back to you.
8. Stop exclaiming!

Punctuation can be a useful device in fiction writing, but it’s the words that count. If you have endless exclamation marks, use bullet points, capitalise words for emphasis and so on you are cheating the reader out of, well,  reading.

9. Plan in advance

Planning your novel in advance will make sure that you have a proper story there. It’s all well and good having a flash of inspiration and beginning to write, but if you get halfway through your story and realise it doesn’t work, this can be very frustrating.

10. Finish

Get your first draft out as quickly as possible. Getting to the end of your story will feel like such an achievement, and the editing process is where you can shape it and make it brilliant. Don’t worry too much about writing poorly at first - just get it down. Otherwise, you may end up never finishing anything at all!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

About Ty Cohen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *