Want to write fiction? When a friend asked me how she could get started with fiction, I was glad I’d kept some notes from a writers’ group meeting a couple of years ago. I passed the notes on to her.
Is there a specific requirement for fiction authors that’s essential? Our group agreed that it’s this: you must have the desire to write.
If you want to write fiction, it’s a good indication you CAN
A writer in our group said, “if you want to write, you can. And if you keep writing and studying, you’ll improve.”
What about “talent?” Some people are better with words and making up stories than others. However, your desire to write will help you to persist. Without persistence, talent means little.
Let’s look at some ways to get started.
1. Morning Pages: allow your creativity free rein
Have you discovered Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages? Try them. They’re spontaneous writing, and can teach you a lot about writing and about yourself. You can try your hand at writing fiction during your Morning Pages’ sessions.
When I’m in a creative rut, I do Morning Pages. They always help. However, Morning Pages can be about anything that’s on your mind. What if you want to write stories?
Think about your favorite books and movies and become inspired.
2. What’s your favorite book or movie? Consider writing fan fiction
Fiction is entertainment, and emotion is paramount. Many new authors love fan fiction because they’re enjoying the emotional hit of the work on which they’re basing their writing.
Several of our writers’ group members got their start writing fan fiction on Wattpad.
Even Amazon got involved with fan fiction for a while. Amazon assessed its popularity, and created Kindle Worlds back in 2013. However, five years later, Amazon shut Kindle Worlds. It seemed to be a way for Amazon to promote its bestselling properties, rather than focusing on the needs of fan fiction lovers and authors. (Admittedly, I may be doing Amazon an injustice; I didn’t explore Kindle Worlds.)
Tip: want to write fan fiction? Be aware of copyright law
The big challenge for anyone writing fan fiction is copyright. In brief, copyright law means that although you can write and enjoy fan fiction privately, you need to be wary when sharing it with others, if the story and characters you use are copyrighted.
Of course, you can avoid the intellectual property/ copyright hassle if you ensure that the works on which you’re basing your fan fiction are in the public domain. All Jane Austen’s works are in the public domain, so Jane Austen retellings are hugely popular.
3. Writing prompts: get inspired
Writing prompts are a fun way to explore fiction. You can write as much or as little as you please.
Try these prompts:
- You’re on holiday. One morning, you realize that your tiny apartment was burgled overnight. Your passport and money are gone…
- After coming from an impoverished background, a glamorous society woman meets her sister, who knows the truth about her…
- In first-century Rome, a senator is murdered. All his slaves face death. As a small child, you don’t understand what’s happening…
You’ll find many writing prompts online, but you can create your own. Brainstorm some prompts, then write.
When you write fiction, emotion is vital
Give yourself time. Everyone starts as a complete beginner. The fewer expectations you have, the more your creativity will blossom. Remember when you were a child, just playing? Try to regain the same sense of playful fun.
Vital: focus on emotion and conflict in your stories:
Want to write a page-turner? … (ensure) that the conflicts between your characters seem insurmountable. If your book’s conflicts can be resolved simply, by characters talking to each other for example, readers won’t enjoy your book.
Telling stories is fun. You can do it.
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