The Basics of Writing Fiction

Basically – Writing Fiction is an Art Form –

Form of ArtThe very basics of writing fiction are that it is an art form. It is a form of art that always ends up as a story.  That story may express what you the author may or may not have actually experienced. And there is no guarantee that what  you have written is factual. It may be, but it doesn’t have to be. It uses the symbols of language to put your experience or thought into a form  that can be communicated to others and it has structure and form. Every word that is written in fiction is part of a pattern. A pattern you create.

What is the seed of the story?

It is very important, to realize that though life experience is the seed you plant as the essence of your story, in real life events follow one another for no apparent reason. Very seldom can a life event become a self-supporting PLOT and your story can spill into many different beginnings without ever finishing a complete thought.

That is why it is important to learn the techniques and structure of fiction writing so that you can help your life events complete a pattern that makes sense and are understandable to the reader.

The techniques of the art of fiction can help you control your imagination and life experiences and form them into a story that can help yourself and others to change, to evolve, to heal. And so,

  • events in a novel do not happen by chance (even when the plot brings characters together by chance, the author has a reason for bringing them together, even by chance.)
  • every event must logically follow another
  • there is a reason for everything that happens
  • you as the author are responsible for assigning that reason to those events

Choosing the seed to plantStory Idea Sprout Lightbulb

There are a couple of ways to decide which idea you want to use as your experience (from life) or event (from your imagination) that will be the basis for your story.

The first is called the “Daydream Technique:”

  • Before you write a scene daydream it.
  • Focus on making your daydream as vivid as possible
  • What exactly is there?
  • What happens?
  • Pay attention to all of your senses. What do things sound, smell and feel like?
  • Focus on improving the daydream. Take as much time as you need to do this.
  1. Now, start to write, describing the daydream as clearly as possible.
  2. It is important not to focus on words that sound good or on writing technique.
  3. Concentrate on expressing the daydream as accurately and specifically as you can.
  4. Focus on the daydream and not the writing.
  5. You can go back and improve the writing later by developing the characters, character traits, plot, etc.
  6. Right now you must concentrate on writing down as clearly as you can what you saw in your daydream so that someone else reading about your daydream will be able to know what you saw.

A second technique is to take a real experience from your life events.

  • Recall the feelings that were associated with that event.
  • Stay with those feelings, playing with them, being healed by or because of them.
  • Whom do you associate with those feelings?
  • Even if it is a negative or bad feeling, know that feelings can’t hurt you. They exist to help us learn from our experiences.
  • So, let the feelings be what they are and begin focusing on how you feel about the person with whom you associate this feeling.
  • What do you feel about that person? Write it all down. Every detail.
  • If for some reason this is painful for you or challenges you, know that it is a good pain, a good challenge.
  • Now, try to understand what a possible healthy resolution for your feelings might be. Try to make it a feeling resolution and not a head one, even if that feeling ends in punching someone in the belly. Wouldn’t it be great if you could use a little humor to resolve the situation, but that’s actually for a specific genre we will be talking about later. Right now just get the situation resolved so that your feelings are healed. Just get them expressed.
  • Do not worry that this resolution has actually taken place in the real world. Just imagine a resolution if you never got one.

Now, as clearly and in as much detail as you can write down how you imagined that feeling, person, conflict and the resolution that you imagined.

  • Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation or writing techniques.
  • Just write the story so that someone else can understand what you experienced.

Now, at this point, a lot of potential writers get stuck in their telling of their feelings and their stories, because they are afraid to disclose something about someone who has not given them permission to do so.

  1. First of all. You don’t have to identify anyone by name. Nor do you have to represent this as a first person story. You can eventually write the story as having happened to someone not remotely related to you.
  2. And secondly. This is your experience. You can own this. It happened to you and you have every right and even obligation to make sense of it for yourself and if in the process you help others with their possible struggle with the same issue or experience then that is what you are meant to do. We do have a responsibility to learn from our own life experiences teach one another from those lessons.

Once you realize that you are working within an art form, it is important to become knowledgeable with each of the basic fiction components:

  1. Characters (main characters and secondary characters)
  2. character traits
  3. setting
  4. conflict
  5. plot or story

I would encourage you to begin learning as much as you can about each of the above components of fiction writing. I will be giving you my take on each of them as I build out my blog but please read and research all the wonderful stuff that is out there in Google, on Youtube, different teacher forums, etc.

Please try the techniques above and let me know what you think of them. How can I make the instruction of them clearer and how did they work for you. Help you? Hinder you from wanting to continue pursuing the writing of fiction?

Please comment on my post below.Elizabeth

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