When you’re writing fiction, you are creating a story that must thrill the reader in some way. Now you don’t have to write something within the “Thriller” genre to create that effect, but you do need to hook the reader and then not let them go. These tips will help you do just that.
#1. Start with an action and then explain it later.
Something needs to be happening with your characters right away. It doesn’t have to be something that is death-defying or the worst case scenario. It could be a wedding. It might be a funeral. It could be a car accident that happens while they’re waiting for a red light. Give your story a good actionable start, let the reader come along for the ride, and then explain why that action is important later on in the book.
#2. Don’t make it easy on your main character.
[bctt tweet=”Life isn’t easy, so why should your main characters have it easy? #writetip #writers #fiction” username=”@networlding”] That doesn’t mean you need to leave them in the middle of the ocean without a life raft. Your protagonist should face difficult situations that help to develop their character in the minds of the readers. Have them learn from the situations so they don’t repeat mistakes later on. Make sure that the difficult circumstances they face also help to advance the story you’re writing in some way.
#3. Plant an early idea into your book.
Good fiction will plant ideas for the readers to follow throughout the book. It is often done in the form of relationships, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It might be a work situation. It could be winning the lottery. What you’re trying to do is give the reader some insight to how the story is going to conclude, but leave them guessing as to which planted idea is the right one. Make sure you pay off your ideas at some point before the story concludes.
#4. Make it personal.
There needs to be a reason why your main characters keep striving to make the world a better place. There must be something personal at stake, especially for your protagonist. This is the reason why you’ll see so many action stories have the protagonist’s family kidnapped or targeted. Without a personal reason to stay involved, the story feels less realistic to the reader. Rare is the person that will risk their lives when nothing important to them is at stake.
#5. There must be an initiative.
Not only does there need to be something personal at stake, but there must be a prompt that gets the characters moving. What is it that your characters are going to be fighting to have? Relationships are often a key initiative in modern fiction, as is money, but there are other ways you could go as well. Maybe your character has been told that they need to lose weight or they might die one day. Or maybe a college professor tells your character that they will never amount to anything. Give your character a prompt that is clear and then let the story evolve from there.
#6. Shorten your time limit.
As your fictional story begins to advance, there must be some sort of time limit on the events that are about to play out. We are deadline-orientated as a people, so there must be some type of restriction on when the events can play out. To add some more drama to your story, it’s okay as a writer to shorten this deadline on your characters unexpectedly as well. This will force your characters to become more creative in finding a solution, which encourages your writing to become more creative as well.
#7. Know where you’re going.
Many writers like to let a story tell itself, but it’s still a good idea to have a destination in mind. Writing can be like a road trip and you can stop at several fun places you see along the way, but eventually you need to get to where you’re going. Plan that out before you start writing so you can keep your characters headed in the right direction.
#8. Write what you’d want to read.
If you’re not passionate about your story, then why should your readers be passionate about it? Write something that you’d read, even if it feels like no one else would want to read it. You might be surprised at how many people might enjoy the same things that you love.
These fiction writing tips for beginners are designed to help get you started. Break out the keyboard, the laptop, or even the typewriter and just start to write. You never know when your next great idea might appear.
What’s your biggest challenge in beginning to write fiction?
What’s your favorite writing tip?
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