Friday, July 20, 2007

The Art of Writing Fiction...My Own Journey.

By My Den
Although writing fiction and short stories is an art, my own journey so far made me realized that there are skills, tools and techniques that one can learn in order to develop as a writer. Before touching on the structure and components of writing a story, the following are the 6 main disciplines that i think one must have, in order to be a good writer :

- Read a lot.
- Write a lot.
- Listen and observe everything around you.
- Have a good grasp of the language.
- Be a researcher.
- Be a storyteller.

Writing takes a lot of discipline because writing can actually be hard work but can also be very satisfying. I remembered the feeling of exhilaration and self-satisfaction that i had when i completed my first short story ( The Boy Who Saw Angels ). That was only possible because i had set up a routine for writing. Setting a routine is very important as it is very easy to find something else to do besides writing. A compulsion to write is essential.

Fiction writers should have a good grasp of the language and developing a reading habit will help greatly in this area. Reading widely from different sources like newspapers, fiction and non-fiction books etc, will also expose aspiring writers to the different techniques in writing a story.

Most importantly, fiction writers must be storytellers. A really good story can compensate for less-than-brilliant writing but brilliant writing will not save a bad story. Readers of fiction want very much to find the writer's work to be believable. It is the task of the writer to produce a story that does not makes the reader into recognizing that the narrative is just the writer talking. The writer should write about what he or she already knows through experience or can learn about through research. The narrative should read as if the writer really knows what he or she is writing about.

One book that greatly influenced me to start writing was Dorothea Brande's "Becoming a Writer". A classic since 1934, her book is very different from the many "how-to-write" guides. Instead of techniques, styles or methods, her book touches on the philosophy, thinking, lifestyle and attitude of a writer. In essence, it was designed to simply help you get over yourself and start writing, just like what i did after reading her book. Her book available here : Dorothea Brande's "Becoming a Writer"

Related Post : Structure & Components Of A Story