Monday, May 25, 2015

What fiction should do, writer-y thoughts

Occasionally I get all writer-y and think about my creative process, goals for fiction and whatnot. Coming back to what I think fiction should accomplish and how it should be constructed helps me whenever I get stuck with a scene, plot point or manuscript revisions. I use my 4 basic assumptions to create questions. Asking myself the questions just about always solves my dilemma by helping me figure out what's missing.

My assumptions for fiction.
  • A story ought to show, not tell.
  • A writer ought to care about and tend to the reader and the reader’s experience with the story. The reader does not read to be impressed by the awesomeness of “the author,” the reader reads to enjoy the story.
  • A story ought to have scope/size/texture. It ought not be a flat listing of events.
  • A story ought to have to have conflict. Internal & external conflict for character. External for the story world (in other words, conflicts exist in the story world).

So hey writers, if you're ever in a slump, try making a list. Make a list of 3-5 "things" you think should always (or just about always) be true in fiction. Then, flip them into questions and use those questions to sort stuff, whatever is slowing your process down, out.


Jolana Malkston said...

Good advice. I find your list very incisive, things we may easily forget when we become caught up in the writing. Some writers dislike rewriting and editing--killing their darlings. I am one who enjoys improving on that first draft. Your list, turned into questions, would be helpful in focusing in on flaws during rewriting.

Isabelle Drake said...

So glad you found it useful! I know what you mean about going after the first draft. I like it too.