How to Write Fiction

From a B.A. in Creative Writing, Earned at San Francisco State

When I write fiction, I make sure to thoroughly imagine the scene before me. This imaginative rendering happens in my head, first. Now, as a trance medium, I have applications that can allow me to use the faculty in order to produce good writing. I channel my work from my imagination to my fingers as my fingers write the prose. I used to do character outlines for my fan fiction. I am contemplating writing short stories again to get them published. Some have survived from my college days where I earned an A.A. in creative writing at Foothill College. Writing fiction is all about showing what is in your head and putting it on paper or computer files.

My short stories would be fan fiction stemming from my favorite 1990s TV shows. Or perhaps I can write original short fiction. I also have poems I’m just fighting to get out on paper. A big lesson in creative writing school, was in fact, “show don’t tell,” since we writers are responsible for all the details. There is the dynamic character and the static character, both of which populate stories. Some can be both, both that is if you are a risqué sort of writer who can put together a character that is both, the way there can be a person who is both an introvert and an extrovert at the same time.

In school, we talked about point of view, as a type of structure element in your story. You have to design characters with the notion that the character has a desire or a need. How has the influence of the history of that particular world you have set for your character made their personality what it is? In science fiction, you have to know the setting very well. What are the rules? What do you need to describe? What makes or breaks the story? Even in copywriting, there is that rule to write about what you know, because you need to give the impression you understand what you are writing about, even in fiction. With fiction, it is all about description, since your job as a writer is to describe the setting and the character’s motivations, what does that character want? All elements of fiction are needed to write a good book or story no matter what the setting is.

Your story has to set off emotions inside of you in order to make sense to the editor that buys your work. Your story has to touch a strong chord. If it doesn’t, if it falls flat, there is nothing to sell your story with. A short story is all about a conflict that is resolved at the end or perhaps left unresolved. To create character backgrounds, you have to know your character’s name, age, occupation, and what motivates them in the piece you are working on. A paragraph on each character works for fiction as well as it does for fan fiction. Fan fiction is altogether a different genre of work than regular fiction.

Fan fiction is a way to write about characters you hardly need to describe. You can go out on a limb and combine two different worlds for your characters to inhabit as you merge each world. Your protagonist is somebody you know well from watching them on TV. Fan fiction is great short story writing muscle activation for the practice’s sake. You can work on many different aspects of story-telling. The setting is one such aspect. Where is your story set? Location? Year? It’s okay to date the story since TV shows like The X-Files date the story all the time. So does Quantum Leap, in fact. Anything time travel has to date the story.

Dialogue must be in “quotations.” This is how you know the author is speaking. If your story has to do with telepathy, then you can italicize the telepathy or any other form of communication can be in bold. The plot is all about maintaining a series of events. The “hook” in a story has to be what draws the reader in from the first line. Sometimes you need to write background information for characters, although in the world of fan fiction, this is not as necessary as you may think. In a pure short story though, you have to come up with character backgrounds even if your fan fiction is for the practice. The story has to build to a crisis or a climax at the end. Short story writing and any kind of writing in general, has to be practiced regularly in order to retain the knowledge. 

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How to Write Fiction
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