START WRITING FICTION: THE HABIT OF WRITING

woman writing on her notebook while holding a cup

Now you know what fiction is and how to get started, we will now dive into the world of developing a habit of writing. Every writer has unique ways of writing; neither way is the wrong way. You will, through trial and error, find the right way to develop your writing habit.

We all glare at the same blank page or the blank screen. We all have trouble coming up with the first few lines to kick off the writing flow. That is why using your journal is essential. Your journal is there for you to write down all ideas that pop up in your creative mind.

“I must write each day without fail, not so much for the success of the work, as in order not to get out of my routine.” – Leo Tolstoy.

Writing Rituals

Every writer has a writing ritual. My old writing ritual was writing weekly for school. Short stories for college, and articles for Coffee House Writers and Digital Fox Media. Now that I have finished college, I need to create a new writing ritual. It is still a work in progress, but I start my day around 8 am until 8 pm. My goal is to write something every day.

What Works For You?

When trying to figure your routine, you need to take time to think and ask yourself a few questions. You need to do what is best for you. You can try your favorite authors’ techniques or create one for yourself.

  • When do you work best?
    • Early morning
    • Mid-morning
    • Noon
    • Afternoon
    • Late afternoon
    • Evening
    • Night
    • Late night
  • When do you do your best work?
    • When there is silence
    • Listening to a music playlist
    • Television in the background
    • Type of weather
  • Do you need liquid/editable consumption?
    • Coffee
    • Wine
    • Water
    • Soda
    • Snacks
  • Where do you write?
    • Bed
    • Café
    • Library
    • Park

When you are experimenting with your writer’s ritual, use your notebook to record each method you use. You may have a routine but don’t know it. Look back on your writing. Think when the inspirations hit you. Where were you? What were you doing? What was going on around you? If you keep your journal on you, look back on earlier entries. You may find a pattern: your writer’s ritual.

“My own schedule is pretty clear-cut. Mornings belong to whatever is new—the current composition. Afternoons are for naps and letters. Evenings are for reading, family, Red Sox games on TV, and any revisions that just cannot wait. Basically, mornings are my prime writing time… Once I start work on a project, I don’t stop, and I don’t slow down unless I absolutely have to. If I don’t write every day, the characters begin to stale off in my mind,” -Stephen King, “On Writing.”

Learning From Other Writers

The world is crawling with writers. Check out Amazon, Wattpad, Fan-Fiction, or a simple Google search and bring up many authors. Those authors are teachers. By reading their stories, you are learning how to hone your craft. You learn what to do and what not to do. You can get inspired by the author’s writing style, narration, development of their plot, or true-to-life characters.

You may say to yourself, “I cannot write that good.” Go ahead and say it, I will wait.

Are you done? How did it make you feel? Bummed? Instead of saying you cannot write that good, here is the truth, take it as a challenge and not a defeat. Remember, it takes practice, and it takes patience to produce great stories. Here is another truth, not all your stories will be great. Think of your favorite authors. What books have they written that you did not like? Why did you dislike those stories?

Being Original

Being original is my greatest fear. I am afraid something I read or heard seeps into my stories. More so, with 7.6 billion people globally, what are the chances that there is someone or someone’s thinking of the same story, or a similar story as I am? That is a scary thought.

However, everyone sees things in a different way. Having these differences will cause original stories and characters. What is happening is you are using existing ideas, plots, and characters and using your imagination by creating something new.

Think of the stories you have read. How are their basics similar?

Take Harry Potter and Star Wars. What is similar about these two stories?

How would today’s stories be without stories such as Beowulf or Epic of Gilgamesh?

According to a study by The University of Vermont, there are six core emotional arcs:

  • “Rags to riches,” (rise).
  • “Tragedy,” or “Riches to rags,” (fall).
  • “Man in a hole,” (fall-rise).
  • “Icarus,” (rise-fall).
  • “Cinderella,” (rise–fall–rise)
  • “Oedipus,” (fall–rise–fall)

So, the core of your story is not original, but how you package it is. The characters, settings, language, actions, and the events taking place are all you, all original. You are taking the core concepts and creating something new.

“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it,” – C. S. Lewis “Mere Christianity.”

Why not write a 50 to 300-word short story based on a popular story/movie/show/song and submit it in the comments? Anyone who reads it can guess what piece of work inspired the story.

Good Luck.

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