I have learned that the best way
to explore the craft of writing fiction is to:
1. Read Excellent Fiction –
Find out what genres you like and what you don’t like.
Learn from authors who have gone before you by reading their work.
You will learn a lot from those who have been successful.
Find out why they have been successful.
2. Practice Writing – (Lots of advice in this section…)
Start writing your stories; don’t wait around for someone to tell you to do it.
Don’t just talk about it; do it. Find writing groups such as writers750,
which will inspire you with excellent themes and challenge you to stick with it.
Keep your tools handy; dictionaries, word books, non-fiction resources, etc.
In the beginning, don’t limit yourself to one genre; you really need to
be free of the genre rules in order to find your natural writer’s voice.
After you receive feedback and have explored writing several stories,
you’ll get an idea which genre to focus on, learn the rules and boundaries,
find an age group to write for, find an audience, start making goals,
and plow forward. You might overlap genres or switch genres later,
but learn what you can about the genre you are writing in.
As you move forward with stories, you’ll want to find
beta readers, ask for resourceful feedback, practice your editing skills,
and find excellent proofreaders. One person can’t do it all, so
3. Study the Craft of Fiction –
Researching books about the craft can be helpful, but don’t get stuck in it;
the same goes for classes, seminars, and workshops.
You don’t want to be one of those writers who always thinks
they’re never good enough, so they keep studying, dishing out money, and stop writing.
Learn about important things such as copyright policies,
plot variations, structure analysis, and the need for having
a good hook on the first page.
4. Don’t Be Afraid –
You can learn from your own failures, but don’t get stuck in feeling sorry for yourself.
You can also learn from others who have failed, but try not to let
it get you down. Be willing to make adjustments along the way,
over and over. Learn from writers who are one step ahead of you,
and encourage those who are one step behind.
5. Get Going –
You will learn a lot when you “experience” one step at a time.
Find out what works by “doing” not by observing.
Don’t sit on the sidelines; you’ll want to get in the game.
Get rid of distractions. Ignore other people who don’t believe in you.
Ignore those who make a bad judgement about you and your work.
Listen to those who offer support and helpful motivation.
Never badmouth your own work.
And try not to badmouth other people’s work.
Use constructive feedback as a way to improve.
6. Be Resolute – Make the decision to stick with it.
This includes finishing your story. Don’t be one of those people
who has to keep changing their story over and over.
And whatever you do, don’t quit in the middle of your story.
Finish your story. Put it away if you want to review it with fresh eyes
at some point in the future – one week later, one month later, etc.
Be proud of your story’s final result. You don’t want to be one of
those cranky writers who is never satisfied with their own work.
7. Don’t expect large results over night.
Shift gears when you need to, slow down when you need to,
and take the day off when you need to.
Be patient and know that it’s all the small steps that matter the most,
make good connections, and don’t burn bridges.