The Moving Word

Writer, Preacher, Bookworm, Student of the Word

Writing Fiction is Easy and Very Difficult

Putting pen to paper and describing the scene in our head is easy. Stringing dialogue based on the way we speak is not challenging. However, forming everything together into a cohesive, compelling novel that publishers will consider publishing is quite a different matter, indeed.

Countless people aspire to write fiction and dream of accolades and glory. Friends and family read their offerings and praise their efforts. They start building houses in their head and plan the outfits they will wear to book signings.

Confident in their mastery, they send their masterpiece to someone knowledgeable about writing and hear that their manuscript is filled with mistakes and inconsistencies. They either become angry, crushed or ambivalent about the advice.

Why does this happen? Because writing fiction is easy and very difficult at the same time and the sooner we realize this, the better. Anyone can tell a story but doing so at the highest level takes an incredible amount of work.

Those of us who are writing their first novel should come to this realization at some point. We need to study the craft and be brutally honest with what we are trying to do. Becoming a relentless editor, we see behind the words to the patterns that are developing in our plot. We begin to see our characters as the reader will and our level of honesty will allow us to see the reality or remain behind the shield of rationalization and denial.

If we will do the work, develop the correct mindset to produce quality material, we will soon realize that writing publishable fiction is gut-wrenching. It is like tearing ourselves apart as we work through thousands of decisions. The more we study writing, the more ignorant we feel. Instead, we keep working and learning, so we can grow.

Eventually, we see past the simple story to voice, tense, chapter transitions, grammar, themes, foreshadowing, minor and major characters, linear details, and hundreds of other crucial components.

What once was just a casual hobby becomes a life-changing event where we have truly given birth to something magical. Cheap, pulp fiction is ubiquitous in the book world. Yet, if we aspire to produce something that will last, we will turn ourselves inside out, if necessary, to elevate our writing to the highest rung we can attain.

If we will strive for that level of quality, we will realize that we are 10,000 miles from where we began with a pen, paper and a sliver of plot. Creating a world is exhausting but when we can behold its evolution, it will all be worth it in the end.

When our story consumes us, our characters become real and our mind can’t stop working on the plot, we have been reborn and we are ready to produce something special. Now the real work begins.


Single Post Navigation

7 thoughts on “Writing Fiction is Easy and Very Difficult

  1. You make very good points, Richard. In a world where anyone can publish anything, no matter how slipshod, it’s even more important to get to the truth of your book, to write the story only you can write — the story that is a part of you and you part of it — and it’s important to do it well. A story has two parts — the writer and the reader. What is created in one mind comes alive in another, and a book that is less than it can be creates problems in transmission.

  2. In a sense, you’ve expressed why writing is a rather painful process for me while painting and drawing are free and easy in comparison. You can move things around in a painting if they don’t fit, usually by starting all over, but you can see the rightness or wrongness of the whole in a second or two. With a book, you never see the whole so clearly, so brightly, so instantly.

  3. Graham Smith on said:

    Very very true. and also incredibly blunt in a daunting tyoe way. Glad that someone who was not me said it though as it needed said and more importantly appreciated and adhered to.

    To put in the extra work is what makes the difference to reader and writer.

  4. Suzanne Accashian on said:

    I am a language arts teacher and currently teaching authors craft. It is amazing all that goes into a novel and all that goes into analyzing it. I have so many thoughts to write in my head nonfiction, informational, Christian perspective, where does one begin? Good article.

  5. Pingback: How to write a novel | details and authenticity « Mike10613's Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: