This an update and the conclusion of my adventure with the “Start Writing Fiction” course at FutureLearn. I can’t just say goodbye to the course without mentioning a few things.
I write this with the knowledge that I am just a student, a learner. I never wrote a book and it’s more than probable I will never publish my writing but I need to write down what I learned so I make sure “I understood” the things that I needed to understand about fiction writing. The things that resonate with me.
Which translates to.… if you seek advice on writing fiction, this post isn’t the one to read! But feel free to .. I appreciate that you take the time to.
I also decided to write down the things that I need to do something about in order to keep on writing – if I want to produce one finished concluded published work.
WHAT THIS COURSE HELPED ME UNDERSTAND:
1. If you have no character, you can have no plot, no story. From your character, you will get to a story. If you think you have a story and you start writing, you are going round in circles if you haven’t established a character. Find someone, give them a name, a job, a reason to “exist”, flaws and conflicts and start. Even if it’s something completely vague and stupid. I have lots of stupid notes in my journal.
2. If you feel like adding elements into your story which you don’t feel like exploring, think twice. Is it because of a mystery you want to impart? Is there a reason why that element is there? Don’t be sibylline. Intriguing, yes. Confusing, no.
3. If you want your character do certain things and live in certain places, do it. By giving them a different location, you are changing elements of their characters. Which is okay for writing practice but you are not doing justice to your characters. This is just you, the writing process and the characters. Nobody’s watching.
4. Writing is combined with reading. Even if you can’t read a whole book in one week, read articles and excerpts of books. Devour words.
5. Observe people. Read people. Ask people. Predict actions, guess reactions. Write and delete. Deletions mean something.
6. Read your favourite writers and articles related to your job, to the country you live, to the food you like (or hate?). The other day, I read the preface of a book that opened a new door for me. It was just the preface of a book!
DIFFICULTIES I FACE:
I identify two problems that interfere with my writing process. First is that I have three-four characters in my mind which are gradually evolving and I can’t focus on one story to write.
I try not to get confused and I use my writing journal to see if one character will eventually stand out.
I am asking myself:
– Which is the character that “knocks on my door” more often?
– Which is the character I know a little more about?
– Which is the character I think I see in one of the people I know from real life (including myself?)
Problem n. 2 is that prior to taking the fiction course, I was writing an ebook (non fiction) and now that I took the course, I started looking at that project from a different angle. I am thinking if I could change the writing style and narration into something part-fiction, part-handbook but I am a little muddled.
I will find a solution. I mean, I do hope to find one!