"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Friction With Your Fiction? 5 Ways to Fix it!



Who doesn't love the escape that good fiction provides? Whether it’s a steamy Harlequin love novel, a scripted play or a box office movie, good fiction entertains, inspires, intrigues and makes us believe in magical possibilities.

But, in order for fiction to do its job, writers must do theirs.
They must approach their stories in a smart, creative, strategic, effective way.
Why? Because bad fiction is as easy to spot as a woman with a bad weave job.
And it insults your audience’s intelligence.

One of the biggest culprits here are many of the horror movies and soap operas today.
Here’s an example to illustrate my point…

Some years ago, like countless women, I used to tune into the weekly “soaps“; I was a huge fan. My guilty pleasure back then was General Hospital. The love affair between Luke and Laura was as hot and intense as Jalapeno peppers. And I was totally hooked.


Unfortunately, this afternoon drama, that initially was a real tear-jerker for me, ended up playing out like a clumsy comedy.

The reason?
The writers of this hugely popular day-time show, in their story line, kept killing Luke’s character off and bringing him back from the dead. Luke had more lives than a cat.
After awhile, it lost its appeal and credibility for me. And it marked the final chapter of my viewing.


Just because fiction is categorically based upon “untrue events” doesn’t mean it should not be authentic, clever and convincing.

For instance, if the setting of your story is a desert island, it would be totally ridiculous for the main character to be stranded in some remote place sending an email to his lover on his laptop. Or for your damsel in distress to be pregnant at the age of 70.

Get the idea here?
So, how can writers craft stories that are compelling, enjoyable and believable?



RESEARCH--If your story or book is based upon situations and people outside the scope of your real-life personal experiences, research can help you to “work smarter, not harder,” fill in information gaps and help avoid potential embarrassment.

Here’s a link to 7 resources to put you on the “write” path:


OBSERVE--Good writers are naturally curious. Observation informs us, broadens our horizons, and feeds the imagination. If your story is intended to be funny, why not visit a comedy club, or study the works of Erma Bombeck? If you’re writing a children’s book, go to the park, the zoo, or watch your little ones for key clues to how they tick and what they like.

INTERVIEW--Talking to industry experts can provide greater clarity and enhance your story. Remember, “the devil is in the details.”

If your protagonist is a cop, what are his challenges? What is a typical day like? What is a common scenario? Ask, assess and apply.

CONSULT--Get feedback from other writers you respect. Sometimes we are much too close to our work to view it objectively and with a discerning eye. A second set of peepers can make all the difference. Don’t let your ego get in the way of your excellence.

READ--As a general rule, you should always read voraciously in your genre of concentration.

Here are some online sites and resources you’ll want to check out to create fabulous fiction.



As with any other professional or creative endeavor, practice makes perfect.
For optimal results, keep these five tips in mind, and keep writing!



  1. I'm glad you put research at the head of your list. I'm always fretting that I'll get something wrong, so I double down on this item.

  2. Jennifer brown banksAugust 30, 2017 at 1:41 PM

    Research rocks, Clee. And so do you. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Jennifer, classic advice from a real pro. I've done all of these with my fiction (and sometimes my blog). Our readers deserve our best efforts. Thanks for the reminders! And welcome back. =0)

    1. Jennifer brown banksAugust 31, 2017 at 4:58 PM

      Thanks so much, Sue. We do owe readers our best.
      Have a great, safe holiday.