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On Writing Fiction – 100 Words x 2 + Questions

Résumé: Letters and notes, e-mail messages, newspaper articles, poetry, blog posts and comments, business proposals, promotional material, journal entries, essays, and, when this exercise is complete, 100 words.

All non-fiction.

I seem to have a mental block when it comes to writing fiction, and in fact have written nothing that wasn’t truth (or based on truth) since creative writing assignments in high school. Ancient history.

Curious: Does this block stem from an innate inability to “lie” (though I greedily devour others’ “lies”)? Perhaps fear of failure? Relentless comparison of self with others? Ease of intimidation?

Hopefully this exercise will enlighten.

100 Words, 05/01/2008

 


 

I believe I just had an insight into why – in part, at least – I struggle with writing fiction.

Even though I recognize that tension and conflict draw in and hook the reader, I don’t know how to bring a character into the world and then allow bad things to happen to them.

I suspect that my desire for only good and beautiful and pleasant things for my characters would make my stories very dull.

So how does a writer let go… permit the characters to tell their story… without trying to control the process?

I must give this more thought.

100 Words, 05/19/2008

 


 

Are you strictly a non-fiction writer?
Have you ever been able to make the transition to fiction?
If so, how did you do it?

Any insights? Please share!

Laurel Regan – Writer, tangler, iPhoneographer, cat herder, learner of French and Italian, crocheter, needle felter, Growlita, iFan, on-and-off politics junkie, 80s music trivia freak, ongoing work in progress.

{ 12 comments… add one }

  • Jenn April 30, 2012

    I like to try my hand at both. Nonfiction is easy but not as creative. Now–fiction–you can get all sorts of creative–but I don’t know that I have the “gift” to really keep the audience coming back for more. But I do try my hand at both.

    This is my short story fiction blog…
    http://www.theshortstorygal.blogspot.com

    Cheers, Jenn
    Jenn recently posted… ZinfandelMy Profile

  • sandra tyler April 30, 2012

    interesting, as I am traditionally a fiction writer. But on my blog, my writing, though very much based on my life, is fictionally finessed; I will take a true moment and enhance it into a full-fledged scene. I was talking to a friend about this fine line, and she said, it’s no fine line, it’s fiction.
    sandra tyler recently posted… A-Z Challenge: Z is for ZebraMy Profile

  • Rick Buda May 1, 2012

    I am the opposite. I rarely write non-fic. When I was very young I had a long walk to school (driving rain, all up hill — yeah full deal). I had a few friends that walked with me. With the guys it was monster/sci-fi movies. We all tried to watch the latest, and the TV runs of the older versions. After a while, we’d run out of ones no one had seen. I would start to tell stories incorporating everyone’s favorites. That started me on the road to writing.
    I really had little conflict with lying and storytelling. Telling a story to mu buddies to pass the time and entertain was good, hurt no one, provided a service. Telling a story to get me out of trouble with Sister Mary Elephant because my homework was undone was bad, it inevitably hurt me, the learning process and my personal education, it tried to circumvent the system. There was not a lot of gray in the process.
    As I wrote more, I began reading books on writing and one of my favorite is Laurence Block’s “Telling Lies for Fun and Profit”. Discussing the novel writing process and if a recommendation is worth anything — still a very good book on the subject. Don’t ask for a lend as the signed copy from Mr. Block is destined to remain in hands reach until I die.
    Non-fiction writing, to me, is just too darned complicated and no matter how hard I try comes out dull, and newspaper article sounding. It’s not the research as I like that process, and usually write nearly another novel of back-story to get the novel kick-started. For example, WolfPointe has some 80 pages of story just bringing the characters to the point of the beginnings of the novel. Some of the pages make it into the Timber Park historical review I needed to include as part of plot expository writing. Still 80 pages sit in a file detailing a small Chicago Suburban town.
    Characters in fiction live to be in peril, or some sort of conflict. Malcolm MacKurghdy (WolfPointe) and many of his cohorts are threatened, beaten, shot, drugged and who knows what psychological wounds they bear. Don’t worry they love it, it’s what I brought them to life for. Oh did I mention the cool “I’m god” trip you can get? Yeah, really.
    So, in finishing, fiction let’s you live vicariously and invent real feeling situations without having to sick to many guidelines. Go with it, have fun
    Rick Buda recently posted… Hey?! This is Work!My Profile

    • Laurel Regan
      Twitter:
      May 1, 2012

      Thanks so much for the insights, Rick – much appreciated! It’s always good to learn what makes other writers tick – especially when they’ve been so fortunate as to have their work actually published! I’ll keep an eye out for the book you recommend (and fully get why you wouldn’t want to let your copy out of your sight!).
      Laurel Regan recently posted… On Writing Fiction – 100 Words x 2 + QuestionsMy Profile

  • Corinne Rodrigues
    Twitter:
    May 2, 2012

    You have spurred me on to try my hand at fiction too, Dawn. I have a good imagination but I find it hard to translate that in to writing fiction.
    Corinne Rodrigues recently posted… No Face More BeautifulMy Profile

  • Susan
    Twitter:
    May 6, 2012

    I have lots of stories, just need to get them out of my head and onto paper. The process for me takes a long time. But once I get going, it’s like the floodgates have opened up!
    Susan recently posted… Announcement & Thank YouMy Profile

  • Sabrina May 9, 2012

    I can do nonfiction all day when it’s short and sweet but when I start thinking about creating a book it’s like the story is too close. It’s hard to commit to a relationship with that much personal stuff it seems. There’s a manuscript sitting in the corner right now that I’ve yet to get back to because of all the deep digging it requires.

    My first book will be fiction and I’m struggling with dialogue and creating a new world with characters. I submitted a few pages to a site that provides feedback and while everyone enjoyed the story, I got questions like: So what does this ‘world’ look like? What makes it different from earth? Is the grass blue and the sky green? Do your characters have any distinguishing characteristics?

    If we can think about all the details that paint a picture, I think fiction gets easier. As a fiction writer, you’re all your audience has. Paint the picture you see in your mind’s eye is what I’ve been told.
    Sabrina recently posted… Your Cup, Your ResponsibilityMy Profile

    • Laurel Regan
      Twitter:
      May 10, 2012

      Interesting, Sabrina – I’d never thought of the “too close” aspect before. For me, it’s more about completely blanking when it comes to coming up with a plot!

      Sounds like you have some good resources for feedback – I can’t wait to read your first book!
      Laurel Regan recently posted… Learning to laugh at yourselfMy Profile

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