Exploring Other Genres: Fiction

I don’t know if this is the same for other nonfiction writers–of poetry, prose or journalism–but I find it really difficult to branch out of nonfiction sometimes.

Sure, I’ve written my fair share of fiction-y pieces growing up; I’ve dabbled in and out of Fanfiction stories. But as someone who has found her place firmly in shorter nonfiction pieces, finding my groove when I do get an idea for something longer and something fiction can be tough.

Here are the two main things that always have me stuck:

  • Brainstorming and outlining chapters/plot/characters
    • You might think because brainstorming is good for any writing that I would have this down, but in all honesty, most of my writing comes from knowing what I want to say and letting my words and creative flow lead me to the ending. I may have an idea of where I want to end up with a piece, but I don’t always end up in the exact same place or with the exact same wording as I thought once I’m there. This is why I’m so out of practice and feel mostly unprepared for my fiction writing, even when I have a rough brainstorming draft floating in a document to reference. (Seriously, my brainstorming skills have dwindled over the years.)
  • Keeping the muse alive
    • It’s so hard to work on something serial or much larger. I’m used to news/features articles, essays and poems. While there can be a lot of time devoted to one particular piece, I’m not used to constantly keeping the story or point alive for longer than one piece (unless in the case of a news story when there’s a follow up article, of course). I’ll get in a groove, write 12 pages in a couple of sittings and then put it down. I’ll get distracted by fun things, being too tired from work or other life things, and then I won’t pick it back up until I try to force myself to.

I guess my question to you fiction/novel dabblers is: How do you do it? What tips do you have for someone who’s trying to make fiction work for them? I really care about my current fiction idea, I don’t want to see it fall to the waste side.

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