Writing fiction is not as difficult as it might seem, as long as you follow these eight simple rules:
- Think Outside the Box
It is fiction after all. Take yourself through a time machine to the past in your elementary school and imagine a kid came to class with an iPhone. Imagine how awestruck the whole class will be even if the phone has no signal? Now imagine yourself as the teacher of that class writing about an iPhone. Point is, you need to have an imaginative mind and think out what others would not ordinarily think of. If you can, be futuristic! Write about flying cars or Nigeria having constant Electricity!!! It might sound impossible now, but so was an iPhone years ago.
- Create three-dimensional characters
Say you’re writing about a brilliant Lawyer who is having an adulterous affair. This is a good start, but to avoid turning him into a cliché, you need to fill him out in three dimensions. In every paragraph, tell the reader exactly how high, wide, and long he is. For instance: “Jamie Wilder, a brilliant Lawyer who stood six feet one, with a size-thirty-four waist and a chest girth of forty inches, was having an adulterous affair.” Also mention that he drives a flashy sports car.
- Choose a point of view
Decide which point of view makes most sense for your story: first person; second person; third person, either limited or the omniscient, godlike perspective; the less omniscient but still potent perspective, the Norse god of weather and fertility; “Tommy,” the crossing guard from your school who always made the same joke about your getting a bad grade at Math, except for that one time he saw an anachronistic iPhone and became confused; the camera I’ve covertly installed in your bedroom, etc.
- Give your Characters motivations.
If you’re having trouble fleshing out your characters, continually ask yourself in each scene, “What does this character want?” Say this out loud enough, and soon someone nearby will ask why you keep repeating that. Do not reply, but simply keep questioning aloud, “What does this character want?” Eventually you’ll be committed to an asylum. Asylums are great places to think without the distractions of the modern world. I’m sure you’ll figure out that pesky protagonist in no time.
- Write what you know.
Are you an expert in the Norse weather-and-fertility gods? Or in Math? You would probably write about an adulterous lawyer if you knew a lot about law. There is no point writing about the popular ancient tribe of Hausa if you knew absolutely nothing about their culture and traditions because you might end up misrepresenting them and your story might lose credibility. This is where research comes in. If you have the passion to write a fiction on theology, then you should have the passion to do an extensive research on the topic.
- No tears for the writer, no tears for the reader.
If you’re not moved by your story, don’t expect your reader to be. Therefore, sob uncontrollably as you compose. Slice onions to abet the process. Point is, make sure you immerse yourself in your story, see yourself as the protagonist and imagine how much pain you can take. Just make your story makes you forget its fiction for a while. If your story moves you, chances are, it will move the reader as well.
Ejedegba Samuel Ochuko