I have recently re-read my Fiction colleague Alison’s blog post entitled Nearly There! In the post, Alison talks about the process involved in rewrites, and the importance of trust between writer and editor.
This got me thinking about what makes a good “PF” story in the first place and, in the Land of Fiction, what sort of story stands out from all the others? In my mind, a winning story can be summed up in one word: belief.
That is, the writer believes in the characters and the story world she has created.
For that belief to become real, from imagination to the page, the writer has to be absorbed in her characters. Ultimately, it’s about a writer finding her own voice. Stories written with such conviction stand out time and time again. That should always be the writer’s goal.
We’ve all heard of the saying “seeing is believing”, and that something is more real to us when we see it for ourselves. Therefore, my advice to aspiring writers is to write about something that matters to you; something that connects you to the characters and situations you have placed them in. The story will then be more real to you and your writing will be all the richer for it.
It doesn’t matter if the story is set in nineteenth century Britain, or that the hero or heroine is the king or queen of some far-flung land. What matters is that you, the writer, can associate with your characters’ plights, which will ultimately help pave the way for plots to naturally unfold.
This is key to developing characters over the course of the story, as they’ll find themselves in situations which need answers, and you’ll find yourself automatically questioning characters’ motives as a result. At the end of the day, the fewer gaps there are between a writer and her characters, the more memorable the writing will be.
So, place your characters in situations which genuinely interest you and need resolving. And with a little belief, a winning story will be born.