Master fiction writing the "right way" --
Because it’s very frustrating and downright painful if approached the "wrong way".
Try pushing a donkey from behind rather than leading him and you’ll quickly see what I mean. Attempt the "wrong way" and you're likely to get your head kicked in.
There’s one "right way" to move a donkey -- just as there’s one "right way" to learn writing fiction. And then there are all the "other ways".
This is not to imply that fiction writers are donkey’s - quite the contrary -- it’s the subject of writing fiction that’s like a donkey. Fiction is sure-footed, tireless, and able to carry heavy meanings -- but stubborn and unyielding if approached from the wrong direction.
I know - and have the scars to prove it.
Trying to learn to write fiction effectively without expert guidance can lead to years of fruitless searching for a few scraps of tips, tricks and techniques, when what one NEEDS is the foundation of the craft. Once the foundation of fiction writing is learned one can then set about mastering its practice rather than wasting time trying to reinvent the wheel.
Most fiction writers spend years limping along with only bits and pieces of the foundation in writing fiction that they need. It’s like trying to run a marathon in only one dress shoe. While one shoe might be better than no shoes at all -- wouldn't a pair of good running shoes and a coach be better?
The odds of getting out of the minor leagues by figuring-it-out on one's own; are about as good as winning the lottery.
What one needs is a logical, sequential system for learning the craft.
And that’s what you’ll find here on this site.
Let’s back up now and take a look at the big picture.
Fiction writing is one of the most exciting, rewarding, challenging, frustrating and risky undertakings that anyone could engage in. As subjects go, fiction writing is also one of the least understood and poorly documented art forms known to man.
Reading good fiction is like watching a magic act. Reading bad fiction is like getting a root canal -- without Novocain.
Writing fiction is:
- Exciting because there is a high level of creativity involved; when the juices are flowing its like being on top of the world.
- Rewarding because we get to experience and enjoy such a complex, interesting, and even beautiful creation, when it’s done. And if we're pretty good at writing fiction it can be financially rewarding as well.
- Challenging because we work alone, often with inadequate instruction or training, ill equipped for the huge demands that fiction writing places on our mind, heart and perseverance as writers.
- Frustrating because too often we don’t know where our stories are going and feel we have little or no control over the "writing" process, let alone what we are trying to create.
- Risky because not only must we invest huge amounts of time and energy in any writing project -- but make a huge emotional investment, as well. With no guarantee that our creation will be read by anyone other than a few obliging family members -- who are too polite to refuse -- openly.
No one, who does not write fiction, can possibly comprehend the enormous risks we take, challenges we face or the equally enormous satisfaction that comes from a smiling reader who tells us they read our book... and liked it.
But fiction writing needn’t be so challenging, frustrating or risky if one goes about it the "right way".
Like any other craft, there is a "right way" and then - there are all the "other ways".
And there is even a "right way" to learn a subject such as writing fiction.
But we writers have been so long persuaded to rely on the vagaries of "intuition", the "muse", or "inspiration", that the actual technology of the craft is all but lost.
I am collecting under this one site the complete technology of effective fiction writing. I know this is a profoundly optimistic statement. One might even accuse me of lunacy or heresy until one considers these simple facts:
- There must be a way to write effective fiction or we wouldn’t have any good fiction books at all.
- And if a workable methodology exists, then it can be known.
- And if it can be known -- then you and I can know it.
So, the question is not, "does a workable way, a 'right way' exist" -- but rather, "How can one find that way?"
The question is solved.
I did not "invent" the technology of fiction writing, anymore than Newton "invented" gravity.
I merely discovered or rediscovered the secrets, tools, tricks and techniques that storytellers have used for centuries to captivate audiences. (It only took five decades to find the front door to the subject.)
And what I uncovered I wrote down (as I discovered it) and organized it into a body of information that can be studied, understood and practiced by writers of all ages and genres to write good, salable fiction - the kind of fiction that readers want.
This is the nature of the material one will find on this site and in the 250+ articles, books, manuals, lectures and blog posts that are published from this site.
The following are key areas of interest to anyone interested in fiction writing; and the place to start, whether you are just starting out -- or want to move your skill to the next level.
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Click on "Elements of Fiction" to get 18 principles of writing fiction. Two of them you might have heard of - the rest might make your head explode. The study of any subject MUST start with a grounding in its most important elements or principles.
For a discussion of why fiction is more realistic than non-fiction follow this link to "Realistic Fiction" where we discuss the slippery subject of reality
in relation to fiction and Discover why Fiction must be Real.
When is a book not simply a book -- when it's a "Fiction Book"! The Holly Grail of every fiction writer. Click her to read more about this important topic.
All "books" have specific criteria and books of fiction have criteria specific unto themselves. Follow this link to get an overview of what they are and how they compare to other types of books.
No discussion of writing fiction would be complete without addressing "Short Fiction Stories" Find out Why this Important format is a Problem for Writers & Readers
and why the word "fiction" doesn't belong in their name.
Here we talk about what short fiction is as opposed to book-length fiction. It isn’t just that one is longer and the other shorter. Short stories have a different structure than book-length fiction (or "novels"). Find out why the length dictates the structure of the story by following this link.
"Fiction Writing Tips" delivers 13 critical tips You Must Have to Survive let alone Thrive Writing Fiction
-- INCLUDING the most important "tip" of all - which is how to learn this subject of Writing Fiction.
Collectively these 13 "tips" plus the 18 Elements of Fiction comprise one of the most comprehensive overviews of the subject ever compiled and provides a solid foundation from which to start or expand one's writing career.
The 6 Key Categories of knowledge that every writer MUST KNOW about "How To Write Fiction"
is some of the most eye opening material I ever discovered. These steps relate not only to writing fiction but to the study and practice of any subject.
These are some of the most deadly Fiction Myths.
They can literally kill a writer and/or kill his work. Look these over to make sure you're not buying into any of them.
Learn the craft, and...
Richard A. McCullough
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