Firstly, there are no hard and fast rules about creative writing. Although the technicalities of grammar and syntax must be observed, the best way to learn to write is to simply do it. It’s rather like learning to ride a bike – you get better over time before you finally master it.
Writing can be a dangerous affair, metaphorically speaking. The path to perfection is paved with potholes, barriers and dead ends, and never more so if you are a new writer. It is a daunting task, which can turn into something overwhelming when you are unsure how it all works, or how to put it all together. You’re left wondering how all those elements fit together or how you should approach your work.
There many questions to ask, depending on whether you are writing short fiction or long fiction such as novellas or full-length novels. Questions like 'How should I write the chapters?' or 'Where am I supposed to start? Do I start at the beginning, somewhere in the middle or right at the end?' and 'Do I need a plan? How do I structure my story?'
Remember, there are no hard and fast rules.
If you want to be a good writer you need to read as much as possible and you need to observe everything around you because whatever you do write about, most of what you have experienced and seen will assist with adding the flourishes needed to fill out the bare bones of a story.
The old adage – write about what you know – is certainly true. As a writer, you should know the kind of stories you want to write, and what you already know or have learned through your experience and research will help the overall effect of the quality of your writing output.
Always write within your own boundaries - don’t write about romance if you have no experience of the genre. Similarly, don’t write about science fiction if you haven’t a clue what it’s about. It usually follows that what you enjoy reading most is what you would like to write about too. I enjoy thrillers, so I write in this genre. I also like horror and psychological thriller. I don’t do romance or chick lit simply because I don’t feel comfortable writing in a genre I have no interest in.
If you are new to writing, don’t aim big too start with. Don’t take on an epic 100,000 word blockbuster without first taking baby steps to uncover your own abilities. Sadly 90% of people who take on the challenge of writing a novel never actually complete it. They give up half way through, they become bored, stumble over the intricacies of plot and subplot, they hit writers block and never recover, or it’s simply they just can’t be bothered.
Don’t be fooled into thinking writing is easy...
New writers should consider short stories and flash fiction first to flex your writing muscles before attempting the meaty stuff such as novels.
In a series of articles I’ll take you through the process of writing – explaining the mechanics of fiction and taking you through all the elements required to bring a story to fruition. Things like the basic elements of writing, the structure, planning and strategies required, redrafting and editing, and much more.
Writing is an evolving artform – you never stop learning, and you never stop creating.
Writing Short Stories