I hope you’re having a great day. Let’s talk about rules for writing fiction. I guess you could say these are Randy’s informal rules for writing fiction.
I have written a longer fiction book, which I have not published yet, but most of my fiction writing involves providing illustrations for sermons and other nonfiction writing. However, I have picked up a lot of tips along the way.
1. There Are No Rules
Rule number one: remember there are no rules. In other words, you can be creative. Have fun as you’re thinking about fiction. You may come up with a new technique that many people in the future will be following. So first of all, there are no rules.
2. To Your Own Self Be True
Rule number two: to your own self be true. This should take a lot of pressure off as you’re getting ready to write fiction. Just have fun as you’re doing it.
3. Balance Being True to Yourself & Finding Out What Readers Like
Even though there are no hard and fast rules for writing fiction, you want to balance being true to yourself and finding out what readers like. Well, that is if you want to make money from your writing, or if you want to have a wider audience for your fiction writing.
Then balance being true to yourself, but also do market research. Find out what people like, and then do a lot of reading yourself. Find out what you like in fiction writing
4. GO! When You’re on a Roll
Number four: go when you’re on a roll. When you’re writing, there are those days when it’s just coming easily and just so much fun. On days like those, just keep the words flowing. Now, I would encourage you to have a goal to get the story finished. Get it done.
You may be very analytical and a perfectionist, and you may edit every day. Well, that’s fine, but I would encourage you to be sure that you get your story written down.
While you’re on a roll, just go with it. Don’t worry about correcting everything; even if you’re one of those perfectionists. Then at the end of your writing session for the day, you can go back through and do the editing.
Now many of us, or at least some of us, can do well by just going through and getting the entire project done and then going back and doing the editing. But either way, daily editing or editing when you’re all done will work. But when you’re on a roll, go with it! That’s when writing is the most fun: when you’re inspired.
Although if you force yourself to have a daily goal, several weeks later, you may look back and not be able to figure out which days you were on a roll and which days you just did the discipline of getting the words down on paper. That always amazes me.
5. Find a Good Editor
Rule number five in my unofficial rules for writing fiction is to find a good editor or learn the skill yourself. It really depends on how you’re going about doing it. If you’re going to be self-publishing, then you can either find a good editor editor, or you can learn the skill yourself.
It may be that you’re already good in certain areas. For example, you may be good at proofreading or you may be good with punctuation and grammar. If not, then you may need to find someone to help you. So you need to either find a good editor or learn the skill yourself.
Now as far as the flow of the story, and the overall theme of the story, you are the best editor for your own book. You know it inside out. You know the message that you want to be presented.
6. Develop Interesting Characters
Number six: develop interesting characters. How can you make your characters interesting? Well, they’re interesting to you. That’s the first clue. But you can start by developing a certain type of character. To build interesting characters, you will want them to have some flaws, a backstory, some quirks, and an inner struggle. So the sixth rule for writing fiction is to develop interesting characters.
7. Have a Goal
Rule number seven: have a goal. The story is going somewhere. You’re trying to save the world: you’re trying to solve a problem, you’re trying to get somewhere in the story. You want to have a goal.
You also will want to have obstacles to that goal. Include the ups and downs and overcoming of obstacles.
Of course, you want to have an ultimate victory, or at least those of us in the Western world want to have an ultimate victory. Like the old fairy tale genre, we want to have happy endings.
As I said earlier, there are no rules. You can do it differently. But these are Randy’s rules for writing fiction.
8. Have an External & Internal Story
The last “rule” is to have an external story and an internal story. The external story involves the circumstances, the settings, and things you can see outwardly taking place in the story.
Then the internal story involves the struggles that are within the main character or some of the other characters. It’s good if you have these elements in your stories.
One More Suggestion
An additional idea is to add a philosophical point to your story. That is if a certain philosophy is important to you. Again, remember, there are no rules for writing fiction. An example of a philosophical story is, “Good overcomes evil.” You may have a philosophy like that that you want to present, even though you’re writing fiction.
Well, those are my eight rules for writing fiction, plus a bonus suggestion.
There are no rules
To your own self be true
Balance, being true to yourself with finding out what readers want
Go! when you’re on a roll,
Find a good editor or learn the skill yourself
Develop interesting characters
Have a goal
Have an external and internal story
BONUS: Add a philosophical point
I hope these eight rules for writing fiction will be helpful for you. For more tips like these, go to the top of the blog and click on “writing“. Or, go to Amazon and get my book “How to Write a Book in 28 Days or Less Without Stressing Yourself to Death”.
Until next time, I’m Randy Carney and I want you to remember YOU CAN WRITE A BOOK!