Some of these might seem a little odd or outlandish at first, but they work.

Fiction writers are used to thinking outside of the box, but this doesn’t always correspond to how they write; if they have bad writing habits, it’s hard to break out of those.

So try some of these tips to broaden your writing and crush the box.

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  • Read Nonfiction. 

    No, seriously. This is so, so helpful for several aspects of writing fiction.

    If you’re writing a high fantasy novel, you will want to know how kingdoms work, how monarchs play out and how kingdoms rise and fall.If you’re writing science fiction, you will want to know all you can about spacecraft.
    This will help a lot with not digging yourself into a corner. Reading something nonfiction will help alleviate the stress of trying to come up with a completely different world with no basis in reality.

    The book I’m writing right now is high fantasy, and every piece of nonfiction I’ve read has helped me understand how my kingdoms will interlink together. So for fantasy writers, historical fiction is definitely the way to go.

    Even if you’re writing realistic fiction, non-fiction will show people’s truths and motivations. What drives them, and how does that affect others to make the decisions they make to get to where they end up?

    Nonfiction is where it’s at.

    start big planning pic

  • Start Big.

    A lot of times, advice I see says to “start small”. Build up your characters, then flush out your plot, and let the story grow bigger and bigger. And maybe this works for some people. But if you attempt this and find yourself struggling with all of the details, or too focused on the small aspects that you’re left hopeless as to what the plot is, you might want to start big and go smaller.

    Flush out your plot and your characters first. Obviously, characters need to be handled from the very beginning, since they are typically what drives a novel.

    But my recommendation is to suss out only the aspects of the character that matter to the story first.

    What aspects of their personality drives the plot? Is it curiosity? Ambition? Greed? Once you have that figured out, it’s a lot easier to bend and shape the plot around your characters.

    Later you can get into the nitty-gritty details like their favorite color or their habits, but don’t let small details like that distract you from beginning your novel. Besides, if you do this, then by the end of your novel you’ll know your characters like the back of your hand, and be able to add and subtract any traits or characteristics you want.

  • Create a SMALL Outline.

    When planning a large fantasy novel, it makes sense to want to create a huge outline, plotting out all of the small details that you want to add. This can lead into the same issue as I mentioned before, but in a different way. The ideas can begin big, but the outline does not have to be overcomplicated.

    A good way of avoiding this is simply making a list or a table of contents. All of the main points or important scenes scenes that are already mapped out in your head can be compiled into a simple list, and checked off once they’re written.

    Here’s an example I quickly wrote up for my serialized novel Trust Me:

    Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 1.37.08 PM

Hopefully these help you in planning and writing your novel.

Have any odd habits that help you write? Feel free to share them below.


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Brandon and Jack; Trust Me