Writing is a creative pursuit that relies heavily on inspiration, but it doesn’t mean that it’s a directionless pursuit. The best writers, especially fiction writers, have a strategic approach towards their work, and this is why they achieve extraordinary success. Whether you’re making the switch from non-fiction to fiction or you’re exclusively interested in fiction, you can master the craft faster if you adopt the right strategy.
Read on to discover three creative writing tips that will help you take your work to the next level.
1. Use Personality Assessment Tools to Model Your Characters
Writing convincing characters that behave and talk like real people is the main challenge of fiction writers. If readers cannot relate to the characters, they will not feel immersed in the story. Do you worry that your characters may feel flat on the page? Consider using personality assessment tools to model your characters.
The Myer-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is one of the most valuable tools for writers because it gives us an in-depth overview of the complexity of human personality. According to the MBTI, there are 16 personality types. Each type is defined by certain behaviors, thought processes, innate preferences, and unique traits.
The 16 personality profiles are often used for character development in books and movies. INTP characters are quiet and thoughtful logicians with a tendency to overanalyze everything. INFJ characters are mystical visionaries who bring change into society. ENFP characters are spontaneous, fun-loving adventurers.
If you want to flesh out believable, authentic, and intriguing characters, consider using the 16 personality types as inspiration. The MBTI can also help you ensure that your characters’ motivations remain consistent as the story unfolds.
2. Write The Story for Yourself First
Another essential tip for fiction writers is to forget about editing if you do not have the entire story on paper or screen yet. In the first draft, you are telling the story to yourself, so forget about style, grammar, punctuation, or plot holes. Many writers spend a lot of time refining their sentences and rewriting as they type. Although this approach can bring good results, it is stressful. You’re always thinking about the perfect word instead of focusing on where the story is going.
Most experienced writers practice a technique known as stream of consciousness or free writing. How does it work? You let your ideas flow uninterrupted and write them as they come to you without worrying about the outcome. After writing the entire story, you can set a specific time for editing. You may need to do multiple rounds of editing. However, you will have a wide perspective on your story, so it will be easy to cut things out or move them around as you see fit.
3. Use Description to Create Powerful Imagery
As a fiction writer, you want to create a complex world that resembles the real one. Your characters cannot exist in a vacuum. They need an environment that is as real to them as the real world is for us. Powerful imagery can help you create a convincing world for your characters.
Even if you are more excited about developing your plot than writing long, descriptive passages, vivid description has an essential role. It engages the reader’s five senses. Details that relate to sight, hearing, touch, smell, or taste create an immersive experience for the readers and drag them deeper into the story.
How much description should you include? It depends on your personal preferences. Many excellent novels have little description because the writers had enough experience to embrace this stylistic choice successfully. Amateur writers tend to overwhelm the readers with unnecessary details. Finding the balance between too little or too much description takes a lot of experience.
Create images with only a few essential details. Target the five senses alternatively. Most importantly, avoid redundant information. For example, if your character is in a busy intersection, the reader already knows what the character is hearing. You do not need to refer to car honks or other street noises.
Writing fiction is a rewarding process because you have the freedom to create worlds and characters from scratch, using your inspiration as your only guidance. However, fleshing out ideas on paper is not easy. Writing is a professional craft that requires years of practice. To make the journey easier for you, you can use various strategies that writers worldwide have been using for many decades.
Follow the tips above to start on the right track and get the results you want.