Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fiction: 5 Ways To Improve Your Fiction Writing

The five ways to improve your fiction writing skills I present here are by no means comprehensive. The very nature of the sentence former is a case in point. No one is the same and, the gods willing, no one’s writing or collective acumen is the same either. So, let’s get started.

(1) Style:

A conspicuous little word that every creative writing teacher and “inspired” coffee house junkie loves to use. However my friends, for every 15% of stylistic BS there is 85% of truth. In short, style is very important, yet one must take caution, as with eating too much of one thing.

Imagine for a moment you are writing a brilliant piece, you see the dollar signs, the juicy advance check and fan website… all of this swimming in your brain starting around page 43. I would bet the bottom dollar, I wish I had, that if you read from page 41 and back you would notice your writing style had changed. Why? Because your style changed from raw love and emotion for writing to a commercialized, insatiable appetite for fame and riches. Neither intentions are bad, but this goes to show that while writing fictitiously your emotions influence your style, so be mindful and train your thoughts. Recognize your voice and embrace it.

(2) Read:

If you’ve ever read/heard anyone say that they don’t like to read for risk it will taint their style, grab a voodoo doll and wish that they fall in a pot hole (ok…perhaps not that far). Omit yourself from the conversation immediately and cling to a police officer because to claim “writing” as a pastime or profession implies, and demands, that you read avidly. It would be the idealistic equivalent to say that you are a body builder but you don’t lift weights because you might end up with 20 inch biceps like that guy over there. Reading trains you, inspires you, and racks at your intuition. How can you build an empire of novels or poems if you don’t know how to read a blueprint?

(3) Be humble:

Be prepared to admit to yourself that you simply aren’t the best and won’t be until 100% of the world says you are. A king never ruled anything without citizens. Aristotle said that a man will never be wise until he accepts that he is a fool. Ask questions, ask for advice, and force yourself to be a sponge everyday you wake.

(4) Grow a set of scriptor testicles (writer balls):

Prepare yourself if you are serious about fiction. The road is hard, impious and throttling. If you perform the art correctly, you’ll discover things about this world and your own that will keep you up sweating. What torments do you think Poe, Stephen King or Dante endured? Nightmares perhaps or creeping revelations...who knows?

We often come to love what we fear because of that rush, the rush of self discovery or if that editor will, *gasp,* accept your work. Suck it up and face it like you’ve got dignity to burn and I promise, the world will lap up you and your “ballsy” writing like sweet wine.

(5) Find a soul mate:

In every endeavor, my friends, we need a soul mate for support. This soul mate of course doesn’t have to be a cuddly photo of a wife, husband or the lesser levels of the two. The item of this description is your backbone or trampoline that creates a cushion and a motivator, (the rougher the better) for you to continue your craft.

You’ve thrown a pity party for yourself before, yes you have don’t shake your head because you’re in good company. All of use need to whine and gripe about how rough it is to sit on our tails all day and basically lie for a hobby, (frustrating I know). Thus the need for our soul mates, perhaps it’s your Literature-loving father, a cat that warms the room’s ambiance, or a wife, such as mine, who threatens to pull my leg hair if I don’t keep on with my dream. Of all the advice in the world that writers can receive, support of morale and faith is paramount. Hold this dear, for with no allies war will bare you no victory.

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