Need Story Writing Help? 6 Ways to Write Better Fiction

fiction writingNeed story writing help? Check out these six ways to write better fiction. Don’t just read these story writing tips; apply them to each sentence, paragraph, and page of your writing. Reading tips is easy — actually putting them into action is the hard part!

Before the tips, a quip:

“A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” ~ Thomas Mann.

If you’re struggling to write your story or book, relax! You’re a “real” writer now. Writing isn’t easy — but the more you read about writing and apply those writing tips to your work, the smoother it’ll flow. One of the most popular sources of story writing help is Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide from New York’s Acclaimed Creative Writing School by Gotham’s Writers’ Workshop — it’s full of great tips.

And, here are six basic fiction writing tips…

Story Writing Help – 6 Ways to Write Better Fiction

1. Picture your stories as “full circles.” A story can be circular, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Some stories even end up in the same place they started — and the best ones have hints and quiet references to the beginning throughout the whole story. I also like to think of it as leaving a trail of breadcrumbs throughout your story: your readers pick up one crumb at a time, nibble throughout your story, and end up satisfied.

2. Give your characters motivation. If you want to create believable characters, you need to share why they do what they do. What do they hope to gain? What about their past makes this so important? Why did they chose this action over another? To write better fiction, remember that things don’t just happen and there are no coincidences. Know why your characters act the way they do — and share those reasons with your readers. This story writing help can be tricky, because you don’t want to over-explain.

3. Learn who your readers are. This writing tip applies to both fiction and nonfiction. If you’re writing a story for children, for instance, understand everything you can about their age, demographics, habits, etc. To learn more about kids, perhaps you could observe a class for a week in a public school. Watch teens at a movie theater, bowling alley, video arcade, or fast food restaurant. Notice what books they’re reading — get into their physical, spiritual, emotional and mental psyche. The more you know about your readers, the better you’ll connect with them.

4. Write freehand – take a break from the computer. If you’re stuck or are wrestling with the dreaded “writer’s block”, try writing with a pen and pad of paper. Some writers find that their ideas flow easier and faster when they write freehand, versus using the keyboard/computer. This may not just help with story writing — it’ll help you edit and revise your work (because eventually you’ll have to transcribe it to a computer!).

5. Practice the most important story writing tip of all. Here’s one of my favorite story writing tips (and quips) from Anton Chekhov: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” To write better fiction, provide enough details so readers can visualize your words. But don’t go overboard — make sure you leave some room for the imagination.

6. Make your story make sense. Do your homework so your setting is consistent and believable! Here’s what librarian and writer Trudy Schuett says: “Lately I’ve seen writers put a huge Western-style ranch in an Eastern state, describe a modern Indian reservation in 1880s terms, and refer to nonexistent airplane routes. Most readers can overlook small mistakes, but big mistakes can be jarring enough to wreck your story, especially when a quick online search is all that’s needed to locate the facts.”

Need more than story writing help? Read How to Increase Writing Confidence – Grow the Skin of a Rhino.

Do you have any questions or tips for writing better fiction – or do you need story writing help? Comments welcome below…

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6 thoughts on “Need Story Writing Help? 6 Ways to Write Better Fiction”

  1. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Glad these writing tips helped! I’ve never done NaNoWriMo — in fact, I’m not even sure what it is — but I’ve gleaned that it’s an intense process.

    Happy writing, and may you always write better fiction…

  2. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thanks for taking time to comment, Suzannah! I like that story writing tip, too 🙂 I really really like the one about breadcrumbs through the story — that’s my favorite.

  3. I love tip #1–picturing your story as a full circle. It takes skill to do it effectively, but gives so much more depth to the story. Thanks for this list, Laurie!