101 of the Best Fiction Writing Tips, Part III

by Suzannah Windsor Freeman

Man lying on couch with laptop

What if someone went through the biggest and best blogs on the internet, and pulled out the very best-of-the best tips for fiction writers?

That’s what I’ve done here. If you haven’t already, check out the first 25 best fiction writing tips here, and the second group of 25 tips here.

Here’s the third installment of 25 tips to inspire and teach. To learn more about the tips, click through to their original articles.

101 of the Best Fiction Writing Tips, Part III

See Part I here, and Part II here .

  1. When writing scenes, you have five tools: action, dialogue, interior monologue, interior emotion, and description. Walking, Chewing Gum, and Fiction Writing. Advanced Fiction Writing
  2. Don’t care too much about what others think of your writing. You’ll always have fans and foes. Stephen King’s Top 7 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer. The Positivity Blog
  3. Struggling with your writing can actually lead you a new level of awareness, and potential breakthroughs. Top Ten Writing Tips to Help You Write More. Angela Booth
  4. Ask yourself what might make a grumpy agent put down your manuscript. 3 Storytelling Exercises That Can Get You Published. Storyfix
  5. Not sure which POV to use? Write a couple of pages in different points of view, then compare. 42 Fiction Writing Tips for Novelists. Writing Forward
  6. Christian fiction maintains certain standards, but not everything can or should be sanitized. When Loathesome Characters Say Despicable Things. Novel Rocket
  7. A strong protagonist needn’t be likeable, but must be relatable. What the Fiction Editor Looks For, Part I. Rachelle Gardner
  8. Be careful of ‘bunny trails’—tangents that don’t enhance the story or lead anywhere. What the Fiction Editor Looks For, Part II. Rachelle Gardner
  9. Too much imagery makes for sensory overload. It’s like hitting your reader over the head. Two Signs of Overwriting and Why It’s a Problem. Kidlit
  10. There’s no such thing as an overnight success story. Writing good fiction is hard work, and always will be. There’s No Such Thing As an Overnight Success Story. Nathan Bransford
  11. Every sentence of your story must reveal character or advance action. Kurt Vonnegut’s Tips for Writing Fiction. Lifehacker
  12. Good ideas are awesome, but don’t be afraid to murder a good idea with an even better one. Ten Rules for Writing Fiction, Part I. Guardian
  13. Description works best when it’s not ornamental or seen from the eye of God, but when it comes from a character viewpoint. Ten Rules for Writing Fiction, Part II. Guardian
  14. Readers are smart and good at filling in gaps. Are you telling too much? Filling in too much? Ten Editing Tips for Your Fiction Mss. Margaret Atwood
  15. Be careful of creating two characters who look, act, and/or sound too much alike. 8 Ways Your Story Needs to Be Tweaked. Victoria Mixon
  16. Theme shouldn’t come from what characters intellectually talk about, but from what they feel. Theme: Don’t Get Down in the Dumps. Nail Your Novel
  17. Keep a binder for all the research you do for your novel, so you can refer back to it as you write. 4 Tips for Researching a Novel. Author Jody Hedlund
  18. Sometimes the scenes you don’t want to write (because they make you uncomfortable) are the scenes you most need to write. The Secrets and Revelations of  a Powerful Middle Act. Tribal Writer
  19. If you’re having trouble finishing your book, cut down on other obligations and focus solely on that one project. 8 Things I Did to Help Me Complete My First Book. Write to Done
  20. The five building blocks of your characters’ personalities are childhood, relationships, livelihood, pastimes and outlook. 5 Building Blocks of Your Character’s Personality. Daily Writing Tips
  21. To strengthen your prose and deepen POV, avoid filter words wherever possible. Filter Words and Distancing Point of View. Let the Words Flow
  22. Don’t miraculously resurrect your protagonist from the dead unless it’s integral to the plot or theme. How to Kill Your Protagonist Without Killing Your Fan Base. Writer’s Relief
  23. To help you stay motivated, keep a journal of your achievements—large and small. The 3 Notebooks Ever Writer Should Keep. Better Writing Habits
  24. Whether you’re an experienced writer or not, your manuscript probably needs more work, even when you think your it’s good enough. Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda. Allison Winn Scotch
  25. In the opening scene, give your protagonist strong emotions with which we can identify. 12 Dos and Don’ts for Introducing Your Protagonist. Anne R. Allen
Click over to Part IV of the best fiction writing tips—the final installment!
And don’t forget to read:
  • http://byronscurse.wordpress.com Ashley Prince

    I just read all three parts and I am finding so many wonderful tips. Many of them I can apply right now as I am trying to crank out my first draft that is stuck in the mud.

    I can’t wait to read the rest.

    • http://writeitsideways.com Suzannah

      Thanks, Ashley! I’m working on the final installment as we speak!

  • http://www.beforeyouwrite.com loubelcher

    Nice list. Thanks so much.


    • http://writeitsideways.com Suzannah

      Thanks for reading!

  • http://annerallen.blogspot.com Anne R. Allen

    These are a whole writers’ conference in a handful of links. What a great resource! And now I’ve got THREE tips in your list. I’m honored.

    • http://writeitsideways.com Suzannah

      Anne, your blog is one I follow regularly, and one from which I always find helpful advice. I’m honoured to share your tips with my readers here!

  • Costas Armeftis

    These and much more are wonderful advice on writing, Suzannah, but consider the writers of the previous centuries who didn’t have it at their disposal. And many of them thrived in excellent novel writing. The secret is, I think, start writing, go on writing, don’t stop. If you like what you are doing, of course. If not, then it’s not for you. Thanks, anyway.

    • http://writeitsideways.com Suzannah

      Thanks for your comment, Costas. Perhaps writers of centuries past didn’t have top lists of the best writing advice, but they would have been avid readers, and would have taken care to study the most successful books of their time. Those writers would have discovered the most important elements of writing through their own reading endeavours.

      Surely, to ‘start writing, go on writing, and don’t stop’ is a great way to get started, and a great way to be productive, but lots of writers do just that and still get nowhere in terms of writing a saleable piece of fiction. I think at some point, craft still has to trump productivity.

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  • http://thebookshelfmuse.blogspot.com/ Angela Ackerman

    Lovely job once again! :)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

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