Tag Archives: writing advice

How to Learn How to Write Fiction

Writing fiction is not something that can be taught with a simple “how-to” book. A creative artistic endeavor like fiction writing is something you have to learn by doing yourself. Each writer is different—at least the good ones are—therefore their method to write fiction is different. So this post is not “how to write fiction like others” but “how to teach yourself to write fiction your own way.”

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The Rhythm of Writing

When you’ve written and read enough, you begin to develop an inherent feel for the rhythm of prose. Amateur writers often write sentences without much thought to the rhythm and flow, resulting in a series of short sentences which begin to sound stiff and boring—or a series of exceptionally long complex sentences that also become too stiff and boring to follow. 

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Use Visualization to Write Fiction Like Tesla

Most of my toughest problems writing fiction come from hitting a wall midway through the first draft when I realize I must alter the narrative in some dramatic way, requiring massive rewrites of what I’d written so far. This doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it is demoralizing—especially for longer projects like novels. I dread going back to do that rewriting work because it is difficult, tedious, and time-consuming. Fixing what I wrote before often takes longer than it took to write in the first place.

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Why I had to Completely Rewrite my First Novel

My first foray into creative writing was through screenplays. I always loved movies and thought in moving images, so screenwriting came naturally to me. After about four years of writing roughly ten screenplays, I decided to try shifting to prose. I decided to adapt my best screenplay into a novel. I already had all the plot and characters and world-building done. It should have been easy, right?

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Philip K. Dick on the Loneliness of Being a Writer

In The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick: Selected Literary and Philosophical Writing, PKD wrote about his struggles with loneliness during his career as an author. In the following quotes, he explains how writing and loneliness are and aren’t related.

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Writing with the Pomodoro Technique (For Productivity and Health)

Writing is not the hardest thing in the world to do, but the easiest thing to do is not write. A nice thing about being a writer is the freedom to set your own hours, but that freedom can also be a curse. It’s difficult to stay focused and avoid procrastination and distractions, especially today with the internet, when the tool you write with (a computer) is connected to all the information in the world, including email, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Reddit, and other applications designed to waste time.

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On Abandoned Drafts

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As a fiction writer I’ve developed the habit of starting first drafts of projects, particularly with short stories, then hitting a wall at some point in the middle, either from boredom or difficulty, then decide to pause and pursue another project. In most cases, I would not start a “new” project, but would go back to work on editing another story, as I have dozens of works in progress that need editing and rewriting. I’ve said in the past that I don’t enjoy rewriting because I find it boring and drudgery, but it’s also much easier and less cognitively intensive than writing a first draft, so it’s a nice respite after facing difficulty in the first draft on another project. Continue reading

Is a Work of Art Ever Finished?

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Whenever I re-read something I wrote, I always find things to edit and change, whether it’s actual mistakes or just rewording sentences to make them more clear and readable. Yet when I last left the work, I thought it was perfect—not actually perfect, as there’s no such thing as “perfect” in art, but as close to perfect as I could make it. However, every time I re-read anything I previously thought was perfect, I always find things to change. Why is that? Did I miss those things before? Or Is my idea of perfection changing? Continue reading

Best Nonfiction Books I Read in 2019

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1. The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence by Ray Kurzweil (1998)

Kurzweil is an inventor and futurist famous for his optimistic predictions for technology in the future, particularly the idea of the singularity—when humans will be able to upload their minds to computers and potentially live forever—which he predicts will happen by the year 2045. Kurzweil has his doubters, but it’s hard to dismiss his track record of predictions when you look at how many have already come true in this book written over thirty years ago. Continue reading

Is Your Idea a Short Story or Novel?

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One common question among writers (or would-be writers) in the initial phase of a project is: How do you know if an idea is a short story or a novel? I think the answer is that you should plan for every idea to be a short story. Try to make everything you write as short as it can possibly be without losing anything essential. Continue reading