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Fiction Writing: Top Tips to Get You Started

Fiction Writing

Let’s dive headfirst into this whimsical whirlpool of fiction writing, shall we?

Fiction writing. It’s an art, a craft, a magical cauldron of creativity where characters are born, plots twist, and stories take flight. But, oh boy, do I remember when it seemed more like an unsolvable Rubik’s Cube than a pot of literary gold.

I can still see myself, furrowed brow, chewing on my pen, staring blankly at the infamous blinking cursor on a dreadfully empty screen.

But then, like a beacon of light cutting through a foggy night, I stumbled upon Fictionary and my world of storytelling turned technicolor.

The Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction

Fiction Writer

Entering the realm of fiction writing is like stepping foot into a grand carnival.

You can hear the melodies of dialogue, taste the cotton candy descriptions, and see the Ferris wheel of rising action. The key to making the most of this amusement park?

Understanding its rides and knowing which one to hop onto next.

A beginner’s guide to writing fiction is like your handy map. It guides you through character creation, setting the scene, devising an interesting plot, and so much more. It gives you a solid foundation to build your story mansion, brick by metaphorical brick.

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Find a Community of Fiction Writers

As you navigate this wonderful world of word-weaving, it helps to find a tribe, a pack, a band of fellow word warriors.

A community of fiction writers is like a magical collective of Hogwarts students, each learning, growing, and helping others along the way. Joining the free Fictionary Community is a great place to start.

Why battle the writer’s block dragon alone when you can join forces with others?

A writing community can provide support, feedback, and‌ that oh-so-needed camaraderie on days when the writing well seems drier than a raisin in the sun. Plus, there’s nothing like a bit of friendly competition to get those creative juices flowing.

Learn the Basics of Writing a Fiction Book

Learning the basics of writing a fiction book is like taking a crash course in world-building.

From creating unforgettable characters to setting the stage for their adventures, from weaving intricate plots to sparking an interesting conflict, every element plays a vital role in shaping your story universe.

It’s like learning to cook a gourmet meal.

You have your ingredients (characters, settings, themes). You have your recipe (plot). Now you need to learn the right techniques (writing skills) to turn them into a mouthwatering feast for readers’ minds. So, dust off that apron, sharpen those pencils, and let’s whip up a literary masterpiece.

Writing a fiction book can feel like scaling a mountain, but every climb starts with a single step.

The first step is understanding the fundamental elements of storytelling, which include:

  • Character
  • Plot
  • Setting

Learn to create engaging characters that readers root for. Learn how to write plotlines that keep readers turning pages. Learn how to build settings that make readers feel like they’re stepping into another world.

Remember, this is a process. Don’t rush. Take your time to learn and enjoy the journey.

The Key Story Elements for all Fiction

Stepping into this library of fiction writing elements is like entering a circus of storytelling wonders.

Characters swing from trapezes. Settings spin on carousel horses. Plots tumble through the air with spectacular precision. There are many thrilling attractions to choose from. Let’s explore three main ringmasters of fiction writing: character, plot, and setting.

Grab your popcorn and get ready to enjoy the spectacle.


The plot is your story’s trapeze artist.

It soars high, swoops low, and swings back and forth, keeping your readers’ hearts pounding and their eyes glued to the page.

But for your plot to perform breathtaking feats, it needs a sturdy swing.

Enter the story arc.

Story Arc: The Fictionary Perspective

Story Arc

The Fictionary Story Arc is like a meticulously engineered trapeze swing.

It provides the structure for your plot’s thrilling leaps and dives. It ensures they happen at just the right moments to keep your readers entranced.

Using Fictionary’s story arc, you can effortlessly map your story’s course from the initial setup through rising tension, the climactic peak, and down to a satisfying resolution. It’s like having your own team of circus engineers, ensuring your plot performs its daring act flawlessly.

The Fictionary Story Arc breaks down the narrative into key beats:

  • The Inciting Incident
  • Plot Point 1
  • The Middle
  • Plot Point 2
  • The Climax

This arc, while providing a guideline, allows for flexibility. You can adapt it to your unique narrative while ensuring it maintains a solid structure.

By visualising your story along this arc using the Fictionary software, you can ensure that your story has a rhythmic flow and that each plot point lands where it will have the greatest impact.

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Other Common Story Arcs

Writing Guides

But the Fictionary Story Arc isn’t the only game in town.

Just as a circus has a variety of acts, fiction writing has a host of story arcs to choose from. Each provides a different thrill, a unique storytelling experience.

Take “Save the Cat Writes a Novel” by Jessica Brody, for instance. This is like a high-wire act. It’s a 15 beat guide to plot structure that ensures your story stays balanced and moves forward with no missteps that could send it tumbling.

Then there’s “The Hero’s Journey.” This classic story arc is like the grand, awe-inspiring acrobatic pyramid of your plot structure. It provides a framework for creating an epic tale of transformation that resonates with readers on a deep, primal level.

In the end, it’s not about picking the ‘best’ story arc. It’s about choosing the right one for your unique story.

After all, every circus act has its own charm, and every story arc can create a captivating plot.

So, pick your performer, set the stage, and let the storytelling magic unfold.


In our fiction-writing circus, characters are the magnetic ringmasters that command the spotlight.

They strut, tumble, and leap across the page. They captivate readers with their larger-than-life personalities and heart-tugging dilemmas.

But the star of the show is always your protagonist.

Creating interesting characters is like training a star circus performer. It’s not about how high they can jump or how well they can twirl a baton. It’s about the fire in their eyes, the courage in their hearts, and the dreams they dare to chase. Let’s explore how to create protagonists that your readers can’t help but root for.

Create Protagonists that People Care About

Crafting a protagonist that readers care about is like taming a lion.

It takes courage, patience, and a few insider tricks. You’re not just creating a character; you’re inviting your reader to embark on an emotional journey.

Your protagonist should be more than just a pretty face in a sequined costume. They need depth, complexity, and a hint of mystery. Just like a lion-tamer isn’t fearless but learns to act—despite their fear—a relatable protagonist isn’t perfect. They have fears, doubts, and weaknesses they must overcome.

To hook your readers, your protagonist must want something. They must have a story goal. It could be something literal (like a Macguffin in a thriller), or something metaphorical (like a loving relationship in a romance). This desire, this goal, is what pulls them out of the comfort of the backstage and into the harsh glare of the spotlight.

And oh, what a journey it should be.

An interesting protagonist grows and changes throughout the story.

Like a daring acrobat, they should swing from fear to courage, from failure to triumph, transforming in ways both big and small. It’s this journey of change that truly captivates readers and keeps them coming back for more.

In the end, creating a protagonist people care about is about making them human, relatable, and capable of change.

Fictionary CTAIt’s a challenging task, but when done right, it’s a circus act your readers won’t forget.


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Writing Setting

Have you ever watched a film where the background seems to almost interact with the characters, like a mute participant contributing to the plot?

That, my friends, is setting done right.

A powerful setting can transport your readers, enveloping them in a world that feels as real as the chair they’re sitting in.

Imagine your story as a theatrical performance.

Your setting is the stage design. The backdrop against which your characters will strut, converse, fight, love, and grow. It’s not just the physical location. It’s more than a cityscape, a sprawling forest, a small town, a planet in a far-off galaxy.

Setting is also about culture, social conditions, climate, time period, and ambiance. Is it a rainy afternoon in Victorian London? Or a sweltering summer’s day in a small Midwestern town? Every detail of your setting contributes to the mood and tone of your story. And every detail influences your characters’ behaviour and provides some context for their actions.

Getting your setting right requires a careful balance.

Too little detail can leave your readers lost, while too much can bog down the narrative.

Remember, the setting serves the story.

It’s the vibrant painting behind your characters, not the other way around. Like a perfectly tuned orchestra, it should complement and enhance your narrative. It should lend depth and authenticity to every scene.

So, roll out the paint and brushes. It’s time to create the canvas for your story.

The Fiction Writing Process

Idea Generation

Have you ever had a spark of inspiration, a flash of an image, or a snippet of dialogue that refuses to leave your head?

That’s where the magic begins, the birth of a new idea.

But how do you go from a fleeting thought to a fully fledged story?

Well, like any talented chef, you need to let that idea simmer a while, add a dash of creativity, a sprinkle of curiosity, and hey presto.

Generating ideas isn’t as daunting as it might seem.

The world around you is teeming with potential story ideas, like a buffet of ideas ready to be savoured, including:

  • Real-life events,
  • Intriguing news articles
  • Anecdotes from friends
  • Dreams
  • And more…

Get into the habit of jotting down anything that sparks your interest. The trick is to stay curious and open-minded, like a squirrel on the lookout for the tastiest acorns.

Outline Your Story

Story Arc with CTA

Remember our trusty companion, the Fictionary Story Arc? It’s time to bring it back into the limelight. This essential tool is your road map, guiding you from the misty realm of ideas into the concrete jungle of storytelling.

An outline helps you organise your thoughts. It helps you identify the key turning points in your narrative and maintain a sense of direction as you dive into the writing process. Think of it as your personal GPS, helping you navigate the complex highways of your narrative.


Alright, you’ve got your idea simmering and your outline primed.

Now, it’s time to dive into the writing process. If you’re expecting me to say that this is the straightforward part, I’m sorry to disappoint. But I’ve got a secret weapon for you. Developing a writing routine.

Writing is like running a marathon.

You may need to pace yourself and‌ move forward at a sensible pace. Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, find a time of day that suits you best and dedicate it to your writing. Make it a sacred ritual, like that first cup of coffee in the morning or that cherished slice of cake after dinner. Before you know it, your words will flow smoother than the finest Belgian chocolate.

Writing might be a solitary endeavour, but remember, every writer embarks on this journey. It’s time to turn your idea into a narrative delight.

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Fiction Writing FAQs

Writing Tips

How can Fictionary Help with My Fiction Writing?

Picture this… you’re an intrepid explorer, ready to embark on a grand journey through the unknown territories of your novel. You’ve packed your provisions, tied your boots, and tightened your hat. But wouldn’t it be nicer to have a trusty map in your hands?

That’s where Fictionary comes in.

Fictionary is like your personal story guide, a helping hand to illuminate the complex maze of your narrative.

The Fictionary Software allows you to visualise your story structure. And it helps to identify gaps in your narrative, and suggests improvements in your story’s pace, tension, and character development. It’s not just a tool. It’s your storytelling compass, guiding you towards the novel of your dreams. Now, who wouldn’t want that in their writer’s toolkit?

What Are Your Top Tips for Developing a Writing Routine?

Developing a writing routine can feel as tricky as teaching a squirrel to line dance, but it’s possible, I promise.

The key is consistency.

Decide on a writing schedule that suits your lifestyle and stick to it like peanut butter to jelly.

Try to write at the same time every day, creating a rhythm that your mind recognizes as “writing time.” Think of it as training a pet. At first, it might be as stubborn as a mule, but with patience and persistence, it’ll eventually obey your commands. Oh, and don’t forget to reward yourself after a good writing session.

Even a small treat can work wonders for motivation.

What About Imposter Syndrome Slowing Me Down?

Ah, the dreaded Imposter Syndrome. The Loch Ness Monster of the writing world.

We’ve all felt it at one point or another. That nagging doubt. The fear we’re not ‘real’ writers. But here’s the thing, my friends…

If you write, you’re a writer. Full stop.

It’s crucial to remember that every writer, even the bestselling ones, started where you are now.

The path to becoming a writer isn’t about reaching a destination. It’s about embracing the journey. So, the next time you feel like an imposter, remind yourself of this… you’re not an imposter. You’re a writer in progress. You’re learning, growing, and getting better with every word you put on paper.

So, chin up, my authorial pals. You’ve got this.

Conclusion: Fiction Writing is for Everyone

Fiction Writing

You’re on stage drenched in a golden spotlight, standing in its radiance. You’re part of a line-up of vibrant, diverse people, including:

  • The accountant with a love for romance writing
  • The busy mother with an epic fantasy story brewing in her head
  • The retiree crafting a heart-pounding thriller
  • The science teacher with an unfulfilled love for horror
  • And more…

That, my friends, is the beauty of fiction writing. It’s a world where anyone—and I mean anyone—can be a star.

Fiction writing isn’t an elite club with a secret handshake.

It’s not reserved for those with grand vocabularies, or for the people who live in the cozy corners of coffee shops with their vintage typewriters. It’s for anyone who has a story to tell, a thought to share, an adventure to embark on.

Whether you’re looking to pen the next magnificent novel or simply want to explore a new hobby, fiction writing is a journey open to all. It’s a thrilling roller coaster ride, with its lofty peaks of euphoria and swooping valleys of challenge.

But isn’t that the fun part?

Every stumble, every hurdle, every triumphant moment, it’s all part of the rich tapestry that makes up the unique and exciting world of fiction writing.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your pen, power up your laptop, and join us in this wonderful, wacky, and wildly rewarding realm of storytelling. Trust me. Your writing adventure is just beginning.

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Article Written by Shane Millar

Shane Millar

Shane Millar is a Fictionary Certified Story Coach and the author of the Write Better Fiction craft guides. He is also the author of the Myth & Magic and Chosen Vampire urban fantasy thriller series.

Shane holds a BA in journalism and is a member of The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi). He lives in Buckinghamshire, England.

He has taken too many writing courses to count and enjoys reading as much as possible. Shane is obsessed with five things: the writing craft, mythology, personal development, food, and martial arts movies.

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