Writing a fictitious story is a fun undertaking that gives a person the opportunity to run wild with their imagination, as they are able to create various characters and build plots. Whilst there is no set list of rules that need to be followed in order to be a success, there are numerous different techniques that can be adopted in order to make for a better experience for the reader.
Great works of literary fiction take lots of hard work and dedication from the author, however, there are some things that they can do in order to make the process easier. Some of the top tips that should be followed when writing a piece of literary fiction include the following things:
- Love the story – although most authors start off with a few different ideas that require fleshing out, it is always best to go with the one that is most loved. Begin with that story and see how it goes. The vast majority of authors do their best work when they are highly invested in the story and the characters.
- Write each and every day – the best writers out there have a habit of writing each and every day. They dedicate even just a small amount of time to honing their craft, the craft of writing. An example of this is Stephen King who gives himself a daily target of writing at least 2,000 words. It can also be beneficial to join a writer’s group as being accountable to other people is a great source of motivation. There is no need to worry if the work produced is not too great as some days will be more productive than others. The more an author writes, the easier it becomes for them.
- Write simple sentences – William Shakespeare’s most famous line “To be or not to be?” is known for its brevity and the perfect way that it quickly describes the character’s situation. Whilst there of course remains a need for denser text and bigger words, do not forget that the story can be equally told in simple language and short sentences. Where possible, use succinct language so that each and every sentence and word has a clear purpose.
- Withhold information – when writing literary fiction, the reader should only be given the information that they need to know at that moment. This is what the renowned author Ernest Hemingway calls the iceberg theory, in that a writer should only give the reader just the tip of the iceberg and not the entire thing. Information, such as the backstory etc., should be kept unknown, similar to the body of the iceberg, which remains underneath the surface of the water. This stops the reader from becoming overwhelmed with everything and allowing their imagination to fill in all of the blanks that there are.
- Mix it up – writers become better at what they do by changing up their style. For instance, those who tend to write longer novels should try writing a short story instead. Equally, literary fiction writers could take a stab at writing a romance book instead or a science fiction one. Writing more causally in the form of an online blog could also be attempted. With each different type of writing having different writing styles and points of view, it helps to improve overall writing skills.
- Set milestones – the average word count of a literary function book is around the 75,000 words mark. It is not uncommon for some authors to feel intimidated by this fact. For anyone who is working on their very first literary novel, they can keep themselves motivated by setting clear and achievable milestones. This helps in mentally breaking down the book into easier to manage chunks, thus making the process easier to stick with.
- Take breaks when they are needed – writer’s block can affect even the most accomplished writers. When this happens, take a break and step away from the story to go for a walk, do some exercise, or have a lie down. Being in a different space and getting the blood flowing around the body is a great way of igniting ideas. The writing can be picked back up later that day or even the next day, the right time to do so will be clear.
- Read the work of other writers – by reading the works of great writers, authors can become great themselves. Whilst reading other genres is OK, it is best to read other literary fiction novels in order to draw inspiration.
- Write in order to sell – in order to make a living from writing literary fiction, it is important that authors think like editors and publishers. This means approaching the story in a way that considers marketing sensibility and creativity in order to make it sell.
- Do the editing later on – it can be tempting for less experienced writers to focus a lot of their time on rewriting and editing their work. It is important to resist the temptation to do this. Try adopting the practice of freewriting, where writers let their ideas flow out uninterrupted. They can always go back and edit their work at a later date or hire a professional editor to do that for them. To hire a literary fiction editor, follow the link.
- Get some feedback – it can be a difficult task for an author to critique their own work. For this reason, it is helpful to get someone else to read a finished draft and ask them to provide specific and honest feedback. This is an effective way of learning exactly what does and does not work.
- Think about publishing – very few authors out there simply write for themselves. It is important to think about where a piece of literary fiction is going to be published. For instance, a short story may be submitted to a literary magazine, whereas a novel will be sent to either a publishing house or a literary agent. There is even the option of self-publishing.