Ways to Write Fiction

7 Things That Help Me Write Fiction of All Kinds

From a young age, I loved to write fiction. Although my writing career started as a freelancer with Textbroker, I’ve been delving more into what my imagination can manifest. Today, I’ll share things that help me get into the mindset of being creative.

Of course, this isn’t necessarily a list of where I get my ideas for creative writing. That is a completely different blog post for another time.

However, if you’re having trouble coming up with an idea for something to write, you can always check out plot generators to get you started.

Getting Into the Mindset to Write Fiction

Fiction doesn’t come naturally to a lot of writers. As odd as it may sound to me, I know several authors who would rather focus on non-fiction books than be imaginative.

I also know a few authors who have trouble getting the flow going to write, in general.

Although I often don’t have trouble kickstarting my creativity, I thought I’d share a few things that I do that get me in the right headspace.

This is especially true for those days when I have clients, kids, and everyone else trying to tap my time. It can be difficult to get back into the right mood once I get sidetracked.

Naturally Being Imaginative

First and foremost, I have always been incredibly imaginative. In fact, my creativity and imagination had gotten me into trouble in school on more than one occasion.

I never had a problem with picking up an eraser and imagining it as a starfighter, sweeping across space, and shooting enemy ships with a barrage of firepower. Unfortunately, I would do this during class or while the teacher was trying to do her job.

Throughout the years, I’ve used my imagination in a multitude of ways that kept me out of trouble. And lately, I’ve been putting a lot more effort into self-publishing, where I can let the imagination run wild.

Thinking Cinematically

When it comes to writing my books or short stories, I think quite cinematically. This means I envision what the story would look like if it were a movie or a show. Then, I would try to describe to my readers what I see while writing.

I’ll also listen to a specific song that fits the story and envision what a music video for my book would look like. Then, I would plan out those segments as scenes in my books.

For instance, my theme song for Fury, the second in the Witcham series, is Distrubed’s version of Shout. Throughout the song, I can see scenes that fit the music of how I want it to appear. Then, I sit down and outline those scenes.

Trust me, for this particular dark fantasy novel, Shout fits perfectly.

Alternate Universe Mentality

When you write fiction, it’s helpful to think of it as an alternate universe. Sure, you can add real people, places, and things to make the story more believable. But you don’t have to be rigid to follow history.

For example, my next book takes place in Atlantic City in 1874. And as far as I know, desiccated corpses didn’t walk along the boardwalk back then.

While I try to use real landmarks to give the sense that the reader is actually in Atlantic City more than 150 years ago, the imagination fills in the blanks. So far, I’ve added a few businesses, buildings, and a cemetery that didn’t exist.

But they could…in an alternate universe.

Creating Character Bios

Part of the creative process when you write fiction means developing a character that is relatable and believable. And a part of me loves sitting down and fleshing out a bio that has the potential to make someone cry should the character die.

As I write a lot of dark fantasy and gothic horror, it’s incredibly fun to be imaginative with the character I’m building. Giving someone some dark power or unique attribute can ultimately change a story.

Back when I was a teen, I spent a lot of time with role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons. The character creation phase was always one of my favorite aspects of it.

I know, I’m a bit weird. But then, do you know a dark fantasy author who isn’t in some way?

Outlining the Chapters or Books

When I feel that I am getting stuck on a part of the story, I’ll go back to outlining. Sometimes this means adding bits of conversation I want to see in the book, and other times it means planning out an entire chapter.

This is extremely helpful for me as it gives me something to work toward. When it comes to outlining, it’s all about connecting point A to point B. This helps me focus and reduces how often I sit looking at a screen without writing anything.

Now, I know a lot of authors who don’t outline their books. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. We all have our own processes. But outlining helps me flex a bit of that creativity to work out extended sections of my books.

Reading the Works of Others

Never underestimate the power of inspiration from other authors. If I am feeling out of sorts to write fiction, I’ll turn to stories or books that are similar to the genre in which I write.

Normally, it’s Stephen King or a few short stories on something like Wattpad.

There is a lot you can glean from reading other works outside of pure entertainment. You can see what works best for the author’s story, how he or she structured the book overall, and consider what makes you like or hate the novel.

It’s always a good idea to read more than you write.

Understanding “Fiction”

Lastly, you need to understand the actual definition of fiction. This is mostly for those who are either too clinical or are hung up with strict accuracies when writing a book or story.

According to Google, “fiction is literature in the form of prose that describes imaginary events and people. Something that is invented or untrue.”

This means you have quite a bit of leeway when it comes to putting together a story. Even if you base it on real cities across the globe, there is nothing wrong with inventing elements needed for your story.

Do you think Gotham City really exists for Batman to clean up?

Instead of being too clinical regarding the facts, people, places, and things in the story, let your imagination come out and play. Just make sure it’s something believable for your target reader.

Sites to Practice Fiction Writing

The Internet is full of places where you can publish fiction writing. And it’s probably not a bad idea to start sharing your work while building your presence if you plan on being an author.

Some sites I use include:

Wattpad

Writing on Wattpad

I’ve been using Wattpad for more than a decade. It’s where I started publishing stories and I plan to do much more with it once my next few books are finished.

For one thing, I want to write some fan fiction without getting sued.

What I like about Wattpad is that it seems the community is more focused on helping you become a better writer. Out of all the comments I’ve received, none have been driven by trolling.

Not to mention that publishers, movie production companies, and other organizations have picked up authors because of their stories on Wattpad.

Inkitt

Write Fiction on Inkitt

I am still relatively new to Inkitt. From what I gather, it’s a bit like Wattpad with far more emphasis on protecting authors as well as the quality that is published.

For one thing, the story I submitted had to go through checks before actually being published on the platform.

It also seems that there is more meat behind Inkitt overall. For instance, it’s easy to set up a support structure and offer tiered memberships for people who love your work.

It’s just an easy way to make a few bucks on the side, especially if you can build a strong audience.

Medium

Medium

Admittedly, I haven’t done much with my Medium account. I often get sidetracked managing my other blogs instead of putting effort into writing something new on the site.

However, I know a lot of people who have had a great deal of success on Medium, both in generating interest and making money.

Also, keep in mind that Medium is often crawled by Google. I bring this up because a lot of similar publication sites are not. If you’re working on getting attention through Google search, Medium is a great platform.

Of course, that will also depend on what you write, which can include fiction.

Vocal Media

Write Fiction on Vocal

I’ve had a Vocal account since long before they added most of the categories for writing. It’s an alright platform, but I find I make far more money working on my blogs than through Vocal.

For instance, I make $0.03 per month on Vocal whereas I make anywhere from $0.25 to $4.00 per day with the blogs.

I haven’t done much with the account since I started publishing books, but often toy with the idea of putting out a few posts here and there.

Vocal allows all kinds of content and often has a lot of fiction writing contests available. It’s just a bit more difficult to get eyes on your work as opposed to the others I’ve listed above.

It feels like success on Vocal is more dependent on how well you market your stories off-site.

Practice Makes Perfect

Not everyone wants to jump into publishing a book from the get-go. Sometimes, getting in some practice and getting feedback can make a world of difference as a beginning author.

Yes, I am a proponent of reading reviews of your work. Feedback is how you learn and grow, just make sure you’re paying attention to proper critiques and not the trolls.

Anyway, there are quite a few sites that you can use to practice writing fiction. Some of them will even pay you for your efforts.

Sort of.

What I mean by that is some sites will pay you for the amount of traffic your stories generate. If you can pull in a large audience, you’ll make more money.

What Helps Inspire You to Write?

Inspiration can come from anywhere. There is no right or wrong answer as to what works best for you. And there is nothing wrong with you if you don’t want to write fiction.

But if you’re having trouble getting started, I hope the above can get you moving in the right direction. I can’t guarantee these tips will work for you, but I can attest that they work great for me.

The most important thing to remember is to enjoy the process. Writing can be therapeutic and fun. It doesn’t always have to center around making money or even engaging a large audience.

Michael Brockbank
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