Start Writing Fiction

TSS #027: 5 Professional Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Start Writing Fiction

Nov 26, 2022

Read Time: 3 minutes

Start writing fiction today after you answer these questions of great importance!

Because you don’t need to be a professional writer to get started, you just need be aware of the strengths required to get published.

At some point you read a novel and thought, “I can do this. Actually, I can do this better.”

Then an idea swelled to the point your head would explode if it wasn’t unleashed. So you started writing your story because no one else could.

You dreamed the story would touch lives.

Inspire fans. 

Change people.

Entertain audiences.

But one day you got stuck staring at a blank screen or wondering what to write next. Maybe you had piles of notes, characters, and scenes, but no idea how to connect the dots. Maybe you just got frustrated reading the crap you left on the pages.

Well, it turns out that writing fiction can be a real pain in the azz.

If you’re crafting a novel or you’ve been looking to start writing fiction, the following questions will challenge you to focus your journey and improve your craft:

1. Can I write what people want to read?

Two key aspects for you to think about:

  1. Are you a good reader?
  2. Are you familiar with the bestsellers in the genre you want to write?

If you are a reader, you should have a good idea of what you enjoy. Chances are that other people will have similar tastes. If you tend to read the top bestsellers in your favorite genre, you will also have a pretty good idea of what sells and moves the market.

It may sound silly to talk about bestsellers and money, but getting published should be treated like a business. You might be disappointed to find out that success has less to do with creativity or even talent and everything to do with a lifelong commitment to mastering the craft and studying the industry while delivering a “product” people want to buy.

2. Can I write something with a broad appeal?

Since a product is what it’s all about, you need to consider writing something with broad appeal.

A lot of people aspire to write the great American (literary) novel, but the fact is that literary fiction is a small percentage of the book-buying market.

If you want to be word-of-mouth fiction author, a modern-day strategy would be to aim for one of the top genres and keep track of the newest trends.

Eye-Popping Book and Reading Statistics [2022]

BOOK SALES NUMBERS

People are cracking spines and flipping pages as book sales increase! 

Books publishing statistics show increases across the board.

  • Women account for nearly 80 percent of fiction sales in the US, UK, and Canada.
  • Young adult fiction sales jumped 30.7% in 2021.
  • Adult fiction sales increased 25.5% in 2021.
  • Children’s fiction sales rose 9.6% in 2021.
  • eBook revenue was up 11.7% in 2020 over 2019 figures.
  • In October 2021, eBook revenue reached $84 million (AAP).
  • Today, eBooks make up 21% of total book sales.
  • SOURCE: https://www.tonerbuzz.com/blog/book-and-reading-statistics/ 

3. Am I prepared to be my own brand?

Even if you use a pen name, you will still have to be prepared to be your own “brand” and take unsolicited advice and mixed criticism.

Being the brand can be intrusive sometimes.

Success can actually make it harder to find the time to write. It can be difficult to write a book and market it while earning minimal money, but sometimes it can be worse to suddenly make it big and become the center of attention.

Be careful what you dream because wishes really do come true.

4. Am I a good writer?

If you haven’t picked up a pen to write a story since high school English, you might want to start small, with short stories or creative blogging, to get some feedback on your work.

You may also want to investigate the nuances of storytelling inside plot structure. Understanding the key elements of a narrative that moves readers and characters may be the key to unlocking your page-turner. 

My lack of feedback during my early writing years stunted my growth. I encourage you put yourself out there and build a feedback loop to witness your skills grow at alarming rates.

5. What am I prepared to sacrifice to become a prolific fiction writer?

Most future bestselling authors focus on the fame and fortune. They don’t think about the countless hours alone working on their novel. Writing can be a lonely business. It can be even more demanding if you have a family or alternative obsession. You might have to sacrifice sleep, binging, streaming, partying, and a lot more to turn your fiction writing career into a reality.

But it’s better you move forward with clarity, because only you can choose to do what it takes to start writing fiction that succeeds.

    That’s it for this Saturday.

    If you enjoyed this post, would you send it to a fellow creative storyteller? Maybe you’ll be helping them write the story they’ve always wanted to finish.

    See ya next week!

    — David