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How to Write Fiction Effectively

Updated on June 19, 2013

Introduction to Writing Ficiton

I am 23 years old and have been writing for perhaps five years. Not very long. I have written a few novels, hundreds of poems, and journal constantly as well as free-write every day. Oh, and hub pages is a recent hobby of mine. This hub is specifically about my writing process and how it could potentially help you become a better writer, a more motivated writer, or just a writer in general.

Where to Find Inspiration for Writing

Input...Leading to Output

We take in information on a daily basis from the media. Television, internet, music, books, etc. This is called input. In-taking material into our brains for future creativity. Unfortunately, most people that I've met, just set themselves in front of the television and let whatever is popular at the time wash over them like a poisonous gas. It goes in, they lose brain cells, and it ends there.

And then there are those who seek out television programs that are meant to inform, movies that inspire and lead to revelations, music to find the emotional core necessary for poetry. And finally, books. Books are essential for ANY writer. Not only do they see how that author writes, creates characters, and manages conflict and balances story-lines, but you have a chance to experience new worlds and ideas that you would probably never come up with yourself.

In addition to this, and this is my own personal taste, but certain anime seem to have philosophical and existential qualities that American television has never been able to achieve.

All of this, all of this is input that could lead to output.

I'm Inspired, Now How Do I Write?!

Output Based Upon Input

As your imagination grows through assimilation of all the breadth of content available in the world, both in physical form, people, places, things, and metaphorical, ideas. The metaphysical and supernatural are good sources of imagination as well. Point is, you have a full bank of material in your head just waiting for you to put your own personal spin on it all.

You've gone through things in your life that no one else has, you've thought things that no one else has, and while you're digesting unoriginal content, you can use it to spur on your own imagination to create something original and amazing.

The first time you write a poem, it may seem like a rehash of someone else's, and that may be true. Plagiarism is absolutely not cool, but to an inexperienced writer, it may happen accidentally. I, myself, have found my writings to closely resemble works of other authors that I've never even read before. How that happens, I couldn't tell you. 'Tis a mystery.

SO, how do I output quality content?


It won't happen overnight, and it won't happen in weeks or months. Writing is a life-long process of learning what is and isn't effective and that's why joining writing communities, whether they're in-person or online (writing.com), can help you to find constructive feedback from other writers that are judging your work, but not in a bad way. Every writer must develop a thick skin because one day, and it is a fact, one day you will get criticism about a work that you put your heart and soul into and the criticism is that it's crap and you need to redo it.

I'll talk about criticism later, but that type of criticism is crap in and of itself, so don't listen to that.

Where to begin writing!

With an empty page, for some. With an idea, for others. A spark, others. For me, specifically, I just start with the empty page and my fingers do the work. I don't have to struggle for words or ideas or imagination, but that's because I've spent most of my life in alternate realities, trying to avoid the real reality. I can set myself in an alternate reality with characters that are as real as any friend I've ever had on this planet in moments, and tap tap tap away onto the keyboard.

That's not the norm, though. Most people see a blank page and see it as daunting, as pressure to create something meaningful and useful, something that people will like. For me, writing is for me. It's therapeutic and fun. The exception to this rule is Hubpages, where I mostly write hubs to help others by sharing experiences and knowledge that I have.

Some techniques that I've learned that have helped me when my hand just won't produce content.

-Writing prompts. Give yourself a topic and just free-write about it. Can be a persuasive aspect, informative, or just expository. Free-write means to write freely. Forget about typos and just write.

-Choose three words randomly off the top of your head and write a paragraph that uses all three words naturally. If you feel like what you wrote has some meaning or could be extended, go for it!

-Stream of consciousness writing. Just writing every thought that enters your brain. Sometimes that can turn into some pretty amazing poetry, and maybe even a novel, who knows!

Now That I've Written Something, How do I Get it Published?

Congratulations! Celebrate! Do a dance! Some people feel like editing is their best friend, and scrutinize their work until it barely resembles the original product. And others, like me, prefer to just let the product be what it is, unmarred, beautiful. I believe that everyone has the talent to write; to convey their thoughts creatively and coherently for others to read. Because think about it, all that inputting you did to generate ideas for writing.


When you are supremely confident in what you've written, there are publishing agencies everywhere that are sometimes local, and sometimes big corporations. Usually you'll send them a piece of your writing and they'll either accept or reject it, giving feedback (not always). Poetry is the hardest to get published, because everyone thinks they're a poet, and therefore the market becomes over-saturated and publishing companies become incredibly, incredibly stingy and picky about who they pick. Oftentimes it's more about name recognition than actual content quality. If the publishing company knows your name, through referrals or otherwise, they're more likely to take an honest, hard look at your material and be lenient on some minor errors instead of writing it off (pun intended) prematurely.


I urge you to keep writing. 1200 words a day. Just keep outputting. It can be garbage, but the more you write, the more you can become cohesive in your musings, and then one day, through actively seeking submission with varying companies, you'll find that someone suddenly takes interest in your work, and that's when it all begins.

But even so, it's all about being content and satisfied with your own work, for your own sake. If you aren't happy with your writing, then what's the point? But, remember, your writing can influence people. Good emotions, bad emotions, good thoughts, bad thoughts, and even move people to action...

The Bible is a good example of writing that has the power to influence billions of people.

The Epic of Gilgamesh, the first recorded book in history, written on stone tablets in ancient mesopotamia, thousands and thousands of years ago, was a story of an immortal man who lost his best friend and struggled with his immortality. Such themes existed long before our egotistical life-forms came into existence. Some of you are older than others, but 3500 BC is a long time ago, no matter who you are.

Show the world!

Put it on display. Take the criticism, and become a better writer. Writing isn't usually a profitable profession, but it can be. It's a calming, therapeutic activity that engages your mind and is truly a wonderful gift given to us humans. Cinema, theatre, music, and the other media have their own fortes, but writing has the capability to make the reader feel emotions they never thought possible, think ideas that you never imagined would cross your mind, and directly access ones mind, body, and soul through direct communication. The words jump off the page and into your mind, and cause your heart to feel feelings, and your spirit to react.


That's the power of writing, and I urge you, brothers and sisters, to write on! Write like you've never written before, and who knows, you might be the next Mark Twain or Ernest Hemingway. The world is yours for the taking!

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    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 5 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Thanks for the encouragement. The first time I received a rejection letter, I put it away and didn't write again for years! Now, I still cringe when I receive the editors notes, but at least now, I keep on writing.

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