Let’s face it. Writing fiction is hard, even harder than writing a research paper. You have a great story in mind, the plot seems perfect, so many exciting characters, but all goes blank when you pick up a pen to write.
Sometimes you struggle to find the right words. Sometimes you get stuck at a certain point, unable to decide how to proceed ahead.
Relatable? Don’t worry; you’re not alone. Every fiction writer can relate. That’s why the literary world has seen only one Earnest Hemmingway, one J.K. Rowling, and one Stephen King.
In this article, we are going to talk about different elements of writing fiction that make it a challenging task.
Devising a Plot
First things first. You can’t just start writing anything without a plot in mind. And creating a plot requires an extreme level of creativity and deep thinking.
If you want to mess up your novel, the best way to do it is to create a plot that none of your readers would like; either because it didn’t make sense or you stretched it too far.
The world’s best fiction writers such as J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Earnest Hemmingway, and so many others had a plot in mind for every piece of fiction they wrote.
If you leave this aspect for the end, your story is going to end disastrously. Regular fiction readers can easily smell a pre-planned plot vs. the last-moment plot in any piece of fiction.
What happens when a writer hasn’t planned who survives and who dies, or who turns out to be a disguised hero (like Severus Snape in Harry Potter), the ending spoils everything.
Ever came across book or movie reviews in which the ending didn’t make sense to most of the readers or watchers? All due to lack of clear plot development.
What sets creative writers apart from traditional writers is character development. Someone writing for an international magazine can cover stories, back his article with lots of research, but he/she may have no idea about character development.
On the other hand, fiction writers can devise characters even when they are busy with house chores. They find a compelling new character to introduce in their novel when they bump into a disheveled beggar or a nutty taxi driver.
Characters are everywhere; you just need to notice them. Ah, but not everyone is good enough to perceive them. Only good fiction writers have a knack for creating fictional characters out of real-world stories.
And that’s not enough; each character must have their own unique personality and voice. And you must be clear about his/her appearance, body features, accent, etc.
For example, J.K.Rowling devised the character of Hagrid in Harry Potter based on a physically terrifying biker she once met who loved to garden.
In his book “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft ” Stephen King reveals how certain life incidents helped him to create exciting characters for his novels.
All the best-selling novels have some great characters and characters that people can relate to and feel emotionally attached to.
But then again, creating such characters requires the next level of creative thinking.
You Must Have An Extraordinary Writing Style
Anyone can write fiction; there’s no restriction. But not anyone can be a best-seller or write something as good as The Hobbit, Harry Potter, The Maze Runner, and you name it.
In the first place, people have no time to read these days. They are fed up with reading corporate reports, news articles, and research papers. If you write fiction in the same way, they will never read your work.
Writing fiction requires a great writing style; your writing should be mesmerizing, entertaining, full of powerful words, and of course, it should invoke curiosity.
Given that you have read fiction and you have some favorite authors, you can relate to this point. Their choice of words and the flow keep you hooked.
That’s the biggest reason why writing fiction is so hard. You have to develop a unique, engaging writing style. You must be great with writing descriptive scenes without spilling unnecessary adverbs.
When writing fiction, you have to think like a reader.
Can he/she comprehend the situation? Is the sentence structure good? Does the scene make sense? Have I used the right words to describe a scene?
Non-native fiction writers struggle with the vocabulary, while the native ones always doubt if they have used the right vocabulary that their potential readers can understand.
Developing a writing style requires lots of patience and practice. You can’t imitate a single author, but pick different things from your favorite writers’ work.
But in the end, your style should be unique, or else you will not get the recognition as a writer that you desire.
Rewriting Fiction Can Be a Pain
Normally, fiction writers hand over their work to professional editors before it is published. But before professional editing comes rewriting from your end.
Of course, you understand your work better than any beta reader or editor who was not part of a thought process when you developed characters and plots.
Earnest Hemmingway advises writers to write drunk and eat sobers. (Don’t take this advice seriously when writing fiction, unless you’re as good as Hemmingway.)
When rewriting fiction, you will constantly grapple with the thought of changing the plot. Some sentences would sound off, and you will come across common glitches.
A piece of fiction, once written, can be hard to fix. One requires the same writing momentum and the pangs of emotions he felt while writing a particular scene.
At times, you will realize the new paragraph you have added or small tweaks you have made in the existing one have marred its quality.
Self-doubt and imposter syndrome will force you to make significant changes in your work. In press writing or marketing content, changes don’t do any such harm. But in fiction, they can kill the emotions and feelings you had embedded after months of effort.