Ten Commandments for Fiction Writers


March 2, 2014 by Nathaniel Tower

Great. Another one of those “tips for writers” posts. Even worse. Another introduction to a “tips for writers” posts.

I’ll keep it short. These are ten things I believe in when it comes to writing. Do with them what you will. If you use them, I promise that the results will be positive.

1. Seek inspiration from other writers, but never plagiarize. There is a huge difference between paying homage to the work of someone else and being a thief.

2. Proofread, revise, edit, and rewrite at least as often you write.

3. Develop your characters and plots sufficiently. Make your characters real and your plots believable. Even when you are writing something bizarre, surreal, or absurd, it is your job to make the readers suspend their disbelief.

4. Give your readers some type of satisfying conclusion or resolution (killing off characters at the end rarely provides satisfaction). It’s okay to leave the reader thinking, but stories shouldn’t just stop.

5. Follow all submission guidelines when sending out your work. Never submit writing that isn’t ready.

6. Read and buy the work of others if you want others to read and buy your work.

7. Write and submit with confidence, but not with arrogance.

8. Spend more time reading than you do writing.

9. Promote your writing if you want people to read you. Try to be creative when you promote. A million “buy my book” links won’t be as effective as one compelling approach.

10. Write for yourself first. The best writing always comes when you write what you think is worth writing.

That’s it. Of course, there are a million other tips for fiction writers, but no one wants to read a million of anything. Please share your own writing tips in the comments.


4 thoughts on “Ten Commandments for Fiction Writers

  1. Cynthia says:

    Thanks Nathaniel, great tips to follow and I will do so! Enjoyed this immensely, good read.

  2. Cynthia says:

    A great list.

  3. Kevin says:

    Nathaniel, I realise there are, as you say, many Tips for Writers out there, however, I think your tips are very good. I think every tip eventually guides someone to their desired goal.

    • Kevin, thanks for commenting. I think your last point is excellent. There are many writing tips out there, just as writers have many different goals. Not every writing tip is appropriate for every writer.

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