Can fiction writing be learnt? That’s a question I am often asked. Although no-one can teach you how to be a great story-teller, it is certainly possible to learn technical expertise.

First, yo0u need to ask yourself some hard quesions – and you may not like all the answers.  First, are you enjoying writing your novel or story? It’s hard work, but can also be fun. At the end of the day, do you feel tired and drained, or do you feel fulfilled and happy?

It is an advantage if you can provide a publisher  with what he wants at any given time- a novel set in the present and focusing on a modern theme or contemporary issue has a better than even chance of attracting a publisher; but if you desperately want to write an historical novel, you should go ahead and do it and if you are patient and persistent you may one day see it in print.

Whatever you are writing, ask yourself :  am I obsessed with my characters, living their lives  and emotionally bonding with them? That is what is needed.  Examine your plot and see if every scene moves the story forward . Don’t introduce fascinating minor characters, exotic locations  or entertaining anecdotes unless they have a part to play- they will distract the reader and might even irritate him.

Does your hero/heroine change or grow and not merely get older?  Do they make a moral journey, learn from their mistakes and also teach the reader something too?  As you write you should become your hero , should suffer and rejoice with him/her . Novels are not biographies  and it’s not your job to make judgments about the characters; instead let the reader feel great empathy .

Don’t keep changing the point of view – stick with one character for a real impact.

Avoid cliches – replace them with originaql one-liners or jokes to make the reader smile.  Finally, ask yourself  do you write about what interests you. If it doesn’t fascinate you, neither will it interest the reader.  But if you are inspired, it will make the subject compelling , and  an editor will pick up your manuscript and become hooked – and the rest will be publishing history.


Good luck. Let me know if I can help you with your writing problems.  Contact me if you want to know how to buy any of my books.



2 thoughts on “WHAT YOU CAN LEARN

  1. Carrie Burns says:

    Thank you for your encouragement and insight. Always appreciated—you are a loving and giving person and it comes through your writing.

    Blessings and love, Carrie

  2. Lots of great advice, as always! I’m curious, though. When you say not to introduce fascinating minor characters unless they move the story along, doesn’t a fascinating character enhance the story, so it’s a good addition? I think I’m not sure how a fascinating character would hinder the story, but maybe they can. I never really thought about that. Can you give me an example of this so I understand it better? Love to you, Nancy

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