Fiction writing is often considered a much more free-form manner of writing, and by contrast, it is. However, there are still specifics to pay attention to. As an author, the most important aspect to demonstrate to your readers is that you are adept in your craft. The pieces listed below are not a comprehensive list of semantics to pay attention to, but they are a good place to start. It is also important to acknowledge that many writing guidelines are case-sensitive, and not all rules are applicable to all projects.
This may seem like an incredibly obvious aspect of writing, but it is surprising how many authors squander an excellent opportunity to capture their readers’ attention right from the beginning. As in nonfiction writing, first lines are often referred to as “hooks,” or otherwise, first impressions. In bookstores, browsing readers will read the first line of a novel and decide whether to keep reading just from that small piece. People say to not judge a book by its cover (or first lines!), but there will always be the need to impress. Using a first line with foreshadowing elements, or even deviating from your traditional writing style to make an impact, has a better chance of captivating the reader and convincing them to keep reading.
People say to not judge a book by its cover (or first lines!), but there will always be the need to impress.
Whether your piece ends with a happily ever after, a bittersweet parting-of-ways, or even a cliffhanger, the note your piece ends on will dictate whether your readers continue with your works. Ensuring that your piece finishes with the emotions and messages that you sought to leave your readers with is a job for your ending line. You need not decide from the beginning of writing how to end your piece or which specific words to use once you’re at the end. If you find yourself at a natural conclusion, however, with no idea what final words to leave your reader with, take a step back. Let the end sit and come back to it a few days later. You are likely going to change those last few sentences a few times before you’re happy with where to leave them, so don’t worry too much about getting that specific diction just right.
If you find yourself at a natural conclusion with no idea what final words to leave your reader with, take a step back. Let the end sit and come back to it a few days later.
You likely haven’t seen this element too often, and it might seem like a strange aspect to include. Despite chapter titles as of late being a feature largely restrained to fantasy novels, their use in broader fiction titles could bring a new aspect to the genre. As a reader, I have seen chapter titles used both as a guide to longer fantasy novels, a way to decipher where in the plot a chapter lies, as well as a way to lighten the tone of a serious story. Chapter titles are multi-use to a reader; they can act as a guide within the book itself, allowing the reader to better place themself in the story. They can also be a way for the author to remove themselves from the immediate surroundings of their plot to give them a better overview of what they are accomplishing in an individual chapter.
Novel blurbs are incredibly useful for both readers and agents alike. They are a perfect way to sum up your work in a few paragraphs and allow a prospective reader to gain an understanding of what material you plan to present within your piece. They are a great way for readers to quickly pick up a book when browsing and decide whether they are interested or not. Blurbs are relatively widespread in their use, and in nearly every case, they will appear somewhere on the novel’s exterior or dust jacket. As an aspect to keep in mind when writing your book’s blurb, you do not want to be too wordy, otherwise readers will lose that interest! You’ll want to remain succinct, while still giving a quick, understandable introduction to your main characters and the plot you’ve carefully put together.
Fiction writing can be difficult, because of the countless matters and aspects of a novel to think about. It is a daunting talk to take on, to create or recreate a world from words. Fiction writers and people looking to learn more about the genre can benefit hugely from learning more about the small pieces that bring a novel or piece together!