Monday, December 12, 2016

Stephanie Han's Ten Points of Fiction Writing Advice

In the 57th in a series of posts on 2016 books entered for The Story Prize, Stephanie Han, author of Swimming in Hong Kong (Willow Springs Books), shares some writing tips.

1. Write into the conflict and paradox. Move as close as you can to that point and begin.

2. The ending does not have to be neat and tidy. A moment should be complete, but that does not mean that all questions are answered. Think about it: very little is fully resolved in life.

3. Writing should be an act of discovery. 

4. Write more, you can always edit.

5. Write secretly. Write openly. Accept that writing is not a familiar type of behavior and roll with its complications. Think about it: you are putting down stories and ideas and thoughts in the form of little marks on a page all by yourself, instead of doing something that is viewed as more tangible or beneficial such as gardening, hanging out with friends, watching a sunset, or yes, making significant sums of money. Accept that and all that it implies.

6. Don’t worry about what your (mother/partner/friend/mentor, etc.) thinks about your subject matter. 

7. Fact and fiction. Fiction and fact. A slippery relationship. Be prepared to answer questions. If you are, don’t worry about it. If you aren’t, prepare yourself.

8. If you are bored writing, think how bored someone will be reading your writing.

9. Read.

10. Publishing has little to do with the act of writing. Publishing has everything to do with how others feel about you as a writer.