How to write fiction

How to write fiction being yourself

man writing on notebook while sitting on wooden handrail
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

Review plot structure. Do this. Dot that. Never write so long a sentence. Don’t use detailed descriptions. Write more words. Robert McKee says… Mike Nappa says… That’s how I finished my first 100 pages story. Yeah, in Spanish page count is even more important than word count. Which for any other writer might be easy. About 30,000 words they deal with by pruning from the 100,000 they write. When my problem is to hold onto a project and finish it. I’m of few words. Think a lot but still say very little. And write even less.

And so with ONE 100 paged story I felt like goddess and gave it to May and Cropollo (first fans of my short stories) for it to be read… They couldn’t understand shit. Besides it being written in a language them both understand but takes three dictionaries to read Literature level wise. English ain’t easy for the common mortal. Spanish can be understood from context and learnt by context but English… Gosh, English needs dictionaries to grasp a single word among words. I guess anyone can feel the same about Spanish with its funny gender rules than can be broken any time. Well, let’s add to it, May doesn’t like vampire’s stories.

So… back to the origin. The zero version that didn’t go further two pages. It was much more interesting and deeper. By far. Dan chan read it and asked for more. What was the difference? Beyond the 98 extra pages?

I was writing it like someone else would have. I was copycatting what McKee said without even taking into account I was writing a novel not a script. That novels can get inside character’s heads. And pretending to be someone we’re not is more than frustrating. It is ennui. For you, your readers… (when you have them). Readers can tell, even if they’re Meg and Meg[1] only.

Ah… but weren’t we to become liars? Yeah. We’re. But lying is based in 75-65% of truth and it is used only for ambiance, characters and happenings. After all, James Cameron used every possible thing he knew to create Alien, something probably well out of the possible reality[2].

And such is the most important of them all. Write about what you know.

Whenever you write you’re transparent. Unless you want to make out of your writing a dark confusing matter like I had been doing trying to do the opposite. I was being arrogant.

Nonetheless, when I’m myself and use my natural charms (time ago modesty invited itself to my parties but then I wouldn’t have dared to write even this blog) what I write becomes better. There are cats on the notebooks. It acquires that smell to freshly baked just out of the oven. To cinnamon and sugar.

 To be interesting and have fun doing our job we need to be ourselves. The first reader of our stories happens to be US. To feel fulfilled with a well done job —when you write and smile no matter how much the plot was a bitch, or your colour balance (graphic designers fellas); it isn’t just about giving yourself time, research to screen out the most hidden secret or review and rewrite, edit, write, write, write.

It is to accept what comes from inside. Because it is oneself and you can’t escape it.

Do you like the romance but you end up with erotic tales? Do you hate romance but it comes out shyly between words? Would you like to write combustion causing revolution texts but sci-fiction takes over your pages? Face it, tame it and have fun.

To be original means to be loyal to what we know and can do within our means. And I don’t mean mediocrity, I mean enjoy the process. From the anxiety because the typography ain’t the right one (designers again) to logos being mute, to not finishing the project because of a 3D course work imposed to discover disappointed our first book is shit.

Why to waste time trying to be someone you’re not?

[1] This blog had 4 readers back then.

[2] I mean posible realitiy since then it comes out a writer imagines something and it seems they’re inventing reality instead of borrowing from. Andrea Camilleri had to include a disclaimer at the end of Montalbano books to signal what he wrote had no relationship to real events or real people. People would follow and argue his books were based upon their lives and probably wanted to sue him because diffamation…

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