Fiction Writing Exercises for Exploring and Developing Theme

fiction writing exercises

Develop themes in your stories with these fiction writing exercises.

Good fiction is comprised of many parts: plot, characters, setting, scenes, and dialogue. But we rarely talk about theme, even though it’s critical to good storytelling.

There’s no clear and easy way to define theme. It has been called the worldview, philosophy, message, moral, and lesson within a story. However, these labels, taken alone or together, don’t quite explain theme in fiction.

We can think of a theme as an underlying principle or concept. It’s usually universal in nature. Some common themes include redemption, sacrifice, betrayal, loyalty, greed, justice, oppression, revenge, and love.

Themes can be philosophical; they can ask questions or pit two ideas against each other: science vs. faith, good vs. evil, why are we here and what happens when we die? Read More

How to Get a Literary Agent and Self-Publish Simultaneously

how to get a literary agent and self-publish

You can do both!

Please welcome guest author Sarah Juckes with an article on publishing.

You’ve been submitting to agents for a while now, and although you’ve had a couple of close calls, your book is still unpublished.

At this point, it can feel like you’ve reached a fork in the road. Do you keep going down the agent path, unsure if there’s anything at the end of it? Or do you take the self-publishing road, with its possible pitfalls?

Many writers don’t realize that these two avenues to publishing actually run parallel to each other. You can switch between the two, so your book reaches as many readers as possible. Read More

The Ultimate Guide to Writing Better

writing betterAs I travel around the Internet reading blogs, watching interviews, and listening to podcasts on writing, I’ve noticed that much of the focus is not on writing at all. There’s a lot of talk about writing fast, e-books versus paper books, and the fate of brick-and-mortar bookstores. But most of the chatter is focused on marketing: book covers, ad buys, pricing strategies, funnels, giveaways, and a host of other promotional tactics and strategies.

All these things are important to an author’s career. But I sometimes wonder if we’ve lost sight of what matters most: the craft. I find very few experts offering advice on writing better and producing higher quality work.

Writing requires a rather large skill set, and while talent gives the luckiest scribes a boost, there are many elements of craft that must be learned and can only be mastered through diligent, long-term study and practice. The most brilliant marketing in the world won’t turn a mediocre book into a phenomenon. Sure, marketing can give a mediocre piece of work a boost, and works of average quality can become quite successful. However, nothing increases your odds of success as much as top-notch writing and storytelling. Read More

23 Fiction Writing Ideas That Will Revitalize Your Story

fiction writing ideas

Refresh your story with these fiction writing ideas.

Sometimes our fiction writing projects dry up. The characters turn out to be flat, the plot becomes formulaic, and the story suddenly seems lackluster.

This is when a lot of writers give up and file their half-finished manuscripts into a bottom drawer never to be seen again. What a waste of time and energy.

Before giving up on a project, why not try to resurrect it? Some stories may not be salvageable, but many can be rescued with a little innovative thinking and a few fresh fiction writing ideas. Read More

Creative Writing Practices: Free Writing

writing exercises in freewriting

Free writing is not your train of thought.

One of the most valuable writing practices I learned in college was free writing.

When you sit down with a pen and paper and let words flow freely, amazing things can happen.

At first, free writing is a bit of a struggle, but if you stick with it, you’ll produce some gems. The trick is to get out of the way, and let your subconscious take over. Most writing exercises ask you to think. This one requires you do anything but that.

Free writing is not like other writing practices; it allows you to generate written material for a variety of projects. It can also help you clear your head or tap into your deeper thoughts. Read More

36 Poetry Writing Tips

poetry writing tips

Poetry writing tips.

Poetry writing is the most artistic and liberating form of creative writing. You can write in the abstract or the concrete. Images can be vague or subtle, brilliant or dull. Write in form, using patterns, or write freely, letting your conscience (or subconscious) be your guide.

You can do just about anything in a poem. That’s why poetry writing is so wild and free: there are no rules. Poets have complete liberty to build something out of nothing simply by stringing words together. Read More

25 Story Starters for Writing Fiction

story starters

Get creative with these story starters.

Are you a storyteller? Do you want to be a storyteller?

If you’re interested in writing flash fiction, short stories, or novels, then you’re going to need lots of ideas, especially if you want to write professionally.

Some of us have too many ideas; others don’t have enough ideas. Maybe we have a solid idea for a story, but something’s missing. We need to spice it up by adding subplots or characters. Maybe the setting or story world isn’t rich enough. Perhaps your story lacks theme.

Story starters are a great way to get ideas for writing stories, but they can also be used to generate ideas for improving stories that are already in the works.

Story Starters

Today, I’d like to share twenty-five story starters. Read More

How to Write Your First Author Bio

Learn how to write an author bio.

Learn how to write an author bio.

Please welcome author Cameron Filas with some good advice on writing your first author bio.

It’s an invigorating feeling, receiving one’s first acceptance letter from an editor. We want your piece. Yay! Pop the champagne cork, and put a party hat on your cat. But at the end of that email, you’ll usually realize they want you to provide an author bio.

This can be horrifying, and we authors often fret more over writing our bios than our stories. After all, stories are fictional. Our author bios are supposed to tell the world who we are and about our writing. It can be intimidating to think so introspectively. Read More

Should You Write Fast or Write Well?

write fast

Write well or write fast? Can you do both?

In recent years there has been a trend building around writing fast. The idea is to finish a book as quickly as possible, publish it, and start immediately on the next book. You quickly end up with a decent sized catalog, and because with each release, you create new opportunities for marketing, you are constantly able to promote new works.

This trend seems to be more popular among indie authors, since traditionally published authors are contractually obligated to go through the longer process that many publishers require, which includes multiple revisions of the work and carefully timed publication dates. I’ve seen authors publishing books as fast as once a month, but many are putting out a book every three months or so.

It’s not a bad idea, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea either. Read More

Breaking the Rules: When Good Grammar Goes Bad

good grammar

Do you break the rules of good grammar?

Today’s post is an excerpt from 10 Core Practices for Better Writing. Enjoy!

“And all dared to brave unknown terrors, to do mighty deeds, to boldly split infinitives that no man had split before—and thus was the Empire forged.”
— Douglas Adams

Everyone knows the old saying: rules were made to be broken. But some people love rules, live by them, and wouldn’t dream of breaking them. For these folks, good grammar means strict adherence to every rule, no matter how archaic or minute.

That’s too bad. Read More