Any writer wanting to delve into the intriguing world of fiction dreams of having best-seller successes like J. K. Rowling or Stephen King. If you’re already from the “other side” or the nonfiction genre, and want to cross the border into fiction writing, you must have had some confidence with your writing. If so, then you’d think transitioning won’t be so difficult, right?
The lines are clearly drawn in knowing what some essential elements of fiction writing are – elements like point of view, conversation, conflict and climax. But it’s also another line in mastering these elements. Isn’t it obvious that bestsellers are those that captivate readers and get the rave reviews?
So before you expect to be the next Sidney Sheldon, consider some writing tips when transitioning to fiction writing.
The habits of the nonfiction writer
More often than not, the nonfiction writer will seem all-knowing and a bit cocky – that they will only need a few edits here and there. But I’ve been asked a few times to proofread some transitioning authors’ works and right from the get-go, I notice that there are no attention-grabbing words that jump right at you. No interesting banter in the dialogues.
In other words, there is no engagement with the audience.
Plus, the English is just too stiff. You can’t have fiction following all the writing rules. It just won’t work with conflict, intrigue, tension, conversation and an overall bit of pizzazz! Let loose a little with your language and let your story be told by the characters themselves using emotions and feelings to bring out the truly charismatic appeal of your hero that everybody loves.
The following are writing tips for those who want to be good at storytelling:
Your protagonist’s POV
Show the events of your story through the eyes and feelings of your hero. Let your readers know him personally so they can be emotionally attached to him, feel his inner turmoil and cheer for him.
So stick with your hero’s head and stay there. Then move on to the others and let them do the storytelling. Weave the characters’ interactions in a natural way without having to explain with too much information to your readers. It’ll come out naturally and they will get it.
Make interesting conflicts
Your characters should have ample conflicts but not too much or else you’ll drown your reader with too many intricacies. Remember, conflict is the backbone of fiction. Make each scene have one conflict to keep readers in suspense with the tension in each page.
Show their emotions
The sure way to make your characters come alive is to make them show their emotions, touch feelings, hurts, aspirations, inner and outer sensations. Don’t just describe what your hero is seeing. Write what his senses are telling him. Even his sense of taste.
Dialogue should be animated
It’s all about attitude. Even in the conversations. Don’t make your dialogue sound like the author again is speaking. As mentioned before, you don’t have to use perfect English. Don’t make it too rigid with a lot of narration. Nobody likes reading too much description, unless they’re really interesting.
It’s not an easy ride when transitioning to any form of writing but it’s not that difficult either. These are only a few writing tips and a few of the many steps you can do to master fiction writing.
Remember, nonfiction sees things objectively while the novelist makes up things in an engaging way. In the end, it’s all about imagination, language, practice, patience and a lot of heart.