Although fiction rests on the unique creativity of the author, much about the writing of fiction can be taught and learned. From the basics of grammar through storytelling principles that have held audiences’ rapt attention for thousands of years, writers can learn a great deal from other writers and avoid the slow process of learning by trial and error.
Unlike science, which is designed to accumulate knowledge by building on what has been discovered by scientists who went before, art does not build on past work in the same way. Artists of all sorts certainly observe, learn and react to what has gone before in their field, but the goal is not the accumulation of knowledge, which is, to some extent, a shame. Why? Because there is so much that writers learn through trial and error, which has already been discovered by the authors who went before them.
How do I know that much about the writing of fiction can be taught and learned, and accumulated over generations of writers? Having read hundreds of books and thousands of articles on writing, the lessons repeat with stunning regularity, although often by slightly different names using different examples. The similarities, however, are striking. My goal is to help you avoid having to spend 10,000 hours learning how to write well by reading hundreds of books on the subject. You will still need to practice to develop your skills, but I want to condense all of the lessons I have read about and learned into one comprehensive source of lessons, tips and principles for writers in general and writers of fiction in particular.
Some advice from our writers on the craft of writing.
- Starting a Novel
- Quantity or Quality?
- Storyteller or Wordsmith
- Too Old to Succeed: age and writing success
- The Elusive Muse: Drinking, Drugs and Creativity
- How to Start a Novel, but Not How to End One
- The Promise: Give Readers What They Expect