Fictional and poetic writers are expected to deliver content that moves their readers. This is a major challenge for writers who are diving into the art of writing for the first time. These writers need to have a good start to secure a space in the world of creative writing, besides giving the quality that readers are craving; here is what every first time writer should do.
If you’re interested in writing suspenseful, action driven thrillers, then you’re probably ahead of the game on this one. For those of you looking to write a beautifully rendered literary tale where the protagonist thinks wistfully in a bay window, well, think again. Plot drives story. Give your characters something to do, and you’ll give your reader something to root for. Establish a clear goal early on, and then work to throw in complications along the way.
Think of the great literary characters throughout history: Scarlett O’Hara. Jay Gatsby. These characters are larger than life, and their motivating drives are crystal clear. Write your characters with distinct features and make sure you understand what motivates them. Fear? Love? Justice? Once you give your reader a sense of what matters to your character, you’ll give them a way to relate and keep reading.
There are a number of excellent resources for the beginning fiction writer to help you get and stay motivated, receive feedback and support, and develop your understanding about the fundamentals of fiction:
With writing, creativity does not come so easy, and this remains to be many writers’ worst nightmare. They are never sure whether what they have is creative and captivating enough for their readers and keep wondering what they can do to deliver better content. To beat this challenge, writers need to be strategic on every stage of the writing process.
Start with tension
Time and time again you’ll hear fiction writers and instructors tell you to start with action. This is flawed advice. Why? What good is the action if it isn’t grounded in context that’s important to the story or draws you to the main character? It’s better to start with tension, like a character falling short on getting something he wants—can’t save the life of a loved one, can’t beat a rival in a race, etc.
End each chapter on a cliff
OK, you don’t have to end each chapter on an actual cliff, but you do need to leave them with unanswered questions. This doesn’t mean you can’t answer questions during the book, it just means you need to create new ones as you go along. Be creative. Fiction is built on the curiosity of readers. If you don’t spark their curiosity (especially at the end of a chapter), what incentive do they have to start the next one?
Give your characters obstacles
The obstacles can be as difficult as you want (and should be pretty darn difficult to help spice up the story). But the key here is that they have to be able to overcome the obstacle no matter what it is—drug addiction, in love with a person who’s on the antagonist’s side, etc. Fictional writing is strongest when characters face tough odds and still come through in the end.
From pros to amateurs, writers make mistakes which sometimes cost them a lot eventually. Some try too hard and going overboard, others leave their readers hanging and many other numerous mistakes along the way. These are what drags many writers behind and limit them from advancing in creative writing industry.
Leaving Readers Hanging
Never annoy your readers.
Sometimes I read books in which the author withholds key information from readers, presumably in an effort to create suspense. But failing to give readers what they want doesn’t create suspense, it causes dissatisfaction.
Trying Too Hard
There’s nothing less impressive than someone trying to be impressive. There’s nothing less funny than someone trying to be funny. Eloquence doesn’t impress anyone except for the person trying so hard to be eloquent.
So look for places in your story where you were trying to be funny, clever or impressive, and change those sections or remove them.
Some writers shoot for humor by writing things like, “she joked,” “he quipped,” “he mentioned in his usual fun-loving way,” and so on. Don’t fall into this trap. If your dialogue is really funny, you don’t need to point that out to your readers. (And if it’s not as funny as you’d intended, you don’t need to draw attention to the fact.)