Writing Fiction: Know what you Write

What are you writing about? Is it about a young girl going through her teenage problems? Is it a young man who fell in love with a certain girl? Is it a child trying to get enough attention from his parents?

Or is it about a detective solving a murder case? A doctor trying to find cure for a virus? A politician trying to stop corruption?

There are a lot of things a writer can write about. Whether it range from a world of fantasy to the realms of paranormal, you choose what you write. Even about beyond the heavens or underneath the earth, you choose what you write. What do you want to write? What do you love to write? What are you writing about?

It’s one of the great things of writing. You choose what you want to write, for different purposes that nobody can even criticize about. You write to experience what you can’t in your reality. You write because you want to write.

But do you know what you are writing about?

Can you write about politics without knowing its regimes? Can you write about computer programming without knowing what JavaScript and C++ are? Can you write about psychology when you don’t know what behavioral patterns are?

Fiction is commonly defined as a literary text that consists of an imagined or made-up plot. A sequence of events that did not happen in real life. A story that consists of made-up characters and made-up settings, that may or may not be found in reality.

Yes, that part is true. But the world has its conventions that we all follow even instinctively. No matter how you try to work on a certain theme you know little about, delivering it implicitly won’t even make it work. And writing with too few details is also a great reader-repellent as much as writing with too much details.

There is no problem of writing about something beyond you. Not at all. You may want to write about the aliens in outer space, that’s fine. But unless you have a very good reason for it, you cannot stop Earth revolving around its axis. You cannot reach the next galaxy in just one day. You cannot be 10 meters close to the largest star ever known and fly around it.

That all comes to everything. Research is also a crucial thing in writing. You cannot give your character a symptom for concussion if it’s a symptom only found in PPD (Paranoid Personality Disorder). Although there are times when one can really change the regimes of something as long as it has a realistic explanation, research should not be ignored.

Know what you write.




The Importance of Pre-writing

When I first tried writing my story, I usually go with what pops in my mind. Go with the flow. That was my style. There are many things that inspires me to write a story, but the whole sequence of events were always very vague and without destination. How will it end? What should happen? I don’t answer those questions until I actually get there. At my first chapters, it was going fine. But the longer I went, the harder it was to think of what will happen next.

So there was my problem. I’ve deleted my published story in wattpad in hopes to edit and plan-off the whole story before I re-draft, re-edit, and republish. It was always very hard for me to have vague ideas and unanswered questions and still go on with the story, though I still do it. But it wasn’t good. It felt like I wasn’t the author of my own story.

Lesson learned. Never skip pre-writing.

Pre-writing. Plan off your story. Make drafts. Take down notes. Research. Do not write your final story when everything else is still incomplete. Going with the flow will never work. You will end up editing and editing your first chapters when new ideas pops up in the middle of the story. And it’s not good for your readers to let them read the whole story all over again.

Writing is never easy, but it doesn’t mean we have to go the hard way around. It may be the long way, but at least it’s the most effective. The moment I started pre-writing, my ideas have been clear. I was even amazed how everything was connected. I did lots of research, even if it was as weird as searching for “kinds of hallucinations”. Even if I have to go back in history just to insert my own characters there. Even if I have to search for fake city names.

I actually regretted not doing this earlier. If I did, I probably had published my story right now. Before you make the same mistake, be patient. Do hard things. And never skip pre-writing.



What is “Good Writing”?

Procrastination is a common obstacle among majority of writers. Psychology had said that procrastination has three major causes: laziness, uncertainty, or having a perfectionist attitude.

In my case, I consider uncertainty and having a perfectionist attitude is my reason of procrastination. I just found myself in front of my unfinished chapter, uncertain of my writing style and thinking it wasn’t perfect.

And so I wondered, how do other writers write? More specifically, I reached out for the book just above my laptop (Asylum by Madeleine Roux, which is also the book that inspired me to write my current story) and read another chapter to study how she writes.

And, funnily, I realized that how she wrote was the way of writing I was complaining about. There was nothing wrong in her writing. Strangely, there’s something wrong with mine. What gives?

I remembered a thread in Wattpad. A writer there had posted a question that had triggered me that time:

What is good writing?

So then I think. I went back to my previous stories that I found…not so good now, but many people still love it. It wasn’t good enough for me, but it was good enough for my readers. How can good writing be measured if all people have different preferences?

So what is good writing?

I believe different writers have their own different ways of telling a story, and it doesn’t have to be good enough for other people just as long as it’s good enough for the writer himself. A different writing style should not hinder a story, thus a writer just has to focus on delivering the story and let other things follow. Good writing is simply measured by a writer’s own style and a writer’s own standards.

There is no such thing as good writing. The goodness of your writing style depends on your own standards, not the amount of people saying how good it is.



Writing Fiction

Writing is not simple. In fact, it’s very challenging. Writing does not consist of words, punctuations, and imagination alone. There are different kinds of writing, thus there are rules to follow to identify what kind of writing we are doing.

Writing Fictions is quite complicated. Unlike position papers, editorials, and concept papers that follows strict rules, writing fictions has rules depending on the writer. There are rules that are constant—unshakable. The structure, for example, have its importance since it’s one of the factors whether your reader will keep reading or not. But in the content is always up to the writer. Do you want to start from the end? You can! Do you want to start way before the main story? Go ahead! It totally depends on you.

Do words intimidate you? Long paragraphs to read? Too many chapters? Don’t worry. Sometimes even writers gets intimidated with them, especially when the we run out of ideas. There are times of procrastination, the struggle of continuing your book or not, and the uncertainty of what should happen next. But those things are very normal. Writing is a bumpy track. It wouldn’t be worth fulfilling if it wasn’t.

There are things we can always hold on to: our loyal readers, our unique ideas, our fantasy world, and especially our characters. There’s nothing more precious to a writer than his own characters. Once you’ll love them you’ll do anything for them. Procrastination letting you down? Miss your characters and you’ll be back in front of your chapter.

It takes quite an experience to master writing. But once you are acquainted to it, just keep practicing. It doesn’t come to you right away, but you’ll have fun learning it. Learn from your mistakes, accept constructive criticisms, converse with other writers, and visit websites that help you with your writing.

Be patient, and your book might be the next best seller all over the world.