Starting out as a fiction writer appears frightening at first with tons of questions running through your mind, like:
Where do I begin?
What shall I write about?
Do I need to take writing courses?
Am I a fool to think I can write?
Let me say that the determined writer sticks it out and allows the questions to be answered as the career moves along. No one has the answers right from the start. This is a hands-on business, learning from your rejection letters, fellow peer critiques, and editors suggestions along with tons of reading.
Writing is an art that can be learned, regardless if the thought 'must be born a writer’ crosses your mind. This is negative energy you might as well toss out the door because I guarantee you this force will stagnate your writing.
Repeat: I am a Writer!
Now let me set the true writing descriptively—flushing out characters and plot lines are not easy but maintaining a positive energy intertwined with determination and perseverance will be your pulling force to succeed.
As Pluto said, “The one thing I know for sure is that I know nothing.”
As new writers you build your knowledge base one step at a time. I am sure if you ask almost any writer to go back and reread their first writings as newbies, they’ll cringe because they now know and have mastered writing tight. Those first pieces of penned stories will clearly display the lack of fine-tuning, more telling than showing, rambling dialogue unconnected to the plot, stick figure characters, and more.
Those same writers will all offer this bit of advice: read, read, and read some more. Reading helps to examine various writing voices until you finally have mastered your own.
Join a writer’s critique group. By reading and helping other writers, your own writing ability is honed. Noticing mistakes in other writings helps you to subconsciously avoid these areas.
Developing your craft needs patience but more than that, you need to schedule a writing slot each day. Regardless if you manage to only write 100 words a day, the satisfaction knowing you are maintaining your ‘status’ as writer will eventually spruce you into lengthier word counts.
To de-complicate your life as a fiction writer, let me offer 3 main questions I pose before I settle into the actual writing of any story.
Who is my main character and what is his/her story?
What is his/her obstacle/problem/goal to achieve?
What is standing in his/her way?
Answer these questions and you have a summery and condensed outline to begin writing his/her/story.
Ex. Using the questions above, this was my own summary to begin my young adult novel Rock Kingdom:
1-Alexandra Stone discovers her parents kept a family secret from her that may have prevented her current and dangerous situation if they had confided in her.
2-She needs to safely reach Rock Kingdom, evading the creatures from Dread’s Forest out to capture her.
3-She discovers along the way that it is her Uncle who has set these creatures after her. Yet, she is placed in a confused state trying to unravel the question eating away at her: Is he good or bad?
Above I had set the premise for my novel by simply answering three easy questions.
Writing fiction is like chiseling your first sculpture. At first the presentation of your bust looks scrambled, out of shape. As you move along you chip here, you file there, and slowly a shape begins to take place. With a consistent effort and determination to perfect your sculpture, the end result will be one of satisfaction only if you persevere and continue developing and fine-tuning all the rough edges.
I hope you've enjoyed this week's Muse Marquee article. Please join us again next Tuesday.