Becoming a fiction writer is as hard as you make it. The difference between every approach is the level of success you can achieve, and you’re unlikely to achieve sustained success without effort.
In these days of online self-publishing, anyone can write a book and distribute it to the world. The best self publishing options include Amazon Kindle and on-demand printing, or Smashwords for ebooks. Sales of ebooks are going up every year, so while many people prefer a real physical book, you can’t really go wrong whichever method of publishing you choose.
But anyway, back to the point. Asking how to become a fiction writer is just the start…
Fiction requires that you take an idea and run with it, but it’s a good idea to be able to string a sentence together before you start. Spend time each day writing about anything you choose – your life, someone else’s life, a cat, a dog, your garden, a fantasy world, chocolate biscuits. You wouldn’t start a marathon without some training, so consider your daily writing to be exercise for your brain (and fingers).
As Great Uncle Isaac said, “If I have seen further, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants” – you don’t get to be good at something by rediscovering everything. Read books, whether they are fiction or non-fiction, in genres you love or hate.
You’ll pick up new words, see how different people string sentences together, and get a feel for the flow of a book. Leverage what other people know and use it to your advantage.
So…about that idea. Have you got an idea for a story yet? Many story ideas come to you in a very vague form:
“Like, there’s this vampire, and he’s a cowboy…but he’s living in New York in the present day. And he drinks the blood of cows, not humans. Ooh! And then there’s vampire cows. And someone has to save the city. Yeah, that’s it.”
It’s weird, but it’s a start. You’ll then need to start thinking about characters and how it will all be resolved. I like to get the ending in place before I begin, as then it’s just a matter of navigating the characters from point A to B. They’ll probably go off at a tangent, but I’ll bring them back again…
If you find your ending doesn’t work, you can rewrite it, but it’s important to get a good idea of what is happening throughout the story before you begin.
Yeah, write again. But this time you can work on your story.
Make it all make sense, cut out the bad bits, add new exciting parts in. It’s like brain surgery but without the risks, and it can be less fun too. But if you’re writing for an audience, you’ll need to edit, polish, and maybe even rewrite the whole thing.
With your manuscript complete, there’s only one thing left to do – get it out to the world! You’ll need a good cover, some keywords so people can find it, an author bio, and a teaser description to get people interested.
And that’s pretty much it…until you come to the sequel!