If You Really Want to Write Fiction


Welcome. The following links are all free.

Some of them will download as a PDF document in a new window.

Others will link you to articles that are invaluable for new writers as well as those who have been writing for awhile but consider it labor. Writing fiction is actually a great deal of fun.

First, one bit of advice—If you really want to write fiction, first forget all the nonsense various shysters tell you in order to sell their how-to books on writing fiction. They are playing on your ego, knowing you will spend your hard-earned cash to learn the “secrets” to success.

  • don’t outline — as Stephen King says, life is spontaneous. So are great stories.
  • don’t plot a story that hasn’t happened yet
  • DO trust all the knowledge you’ve absorbed about writing without even knowing it from reading fiction (not how-to books) and watching or listening to films, television sitcoms, and radio programs (if any). You Know How To Write Fiction. Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t.
  • If you need a story starter, pick any character with a problem (doesn’t have to be “the” problem of the story) and drop him or her into a setting. Then
  • put your fingers on a keyboard and write whatever comes. Run through the story with your characters as it unfolds all around you. Trust it. The characters will lead you through to the end. Trust it. Trust your characters and yourself. Believe in yourself.
  • After you’ve written,
    • don’t revise with your conscious critical mind (don’t “look for” things that are “wrong”)
    • don’t rewrite except to editorial order, and then only if you agree
    • don’t “polish,” whatever that even means
    • don’t participate in “critique groups” by any name unless everyone in the group has published at least 10 novels and/or dozens of short stories.
    • Avoid ANYONE who tries to tell you how they would have written it. No urge is greater than that of a writer to change another writer’s work.

The only “secret” to writing fiction is to put your backside in a chair and write.

To do that, and to have more fun than you have ever imagined writing fiction could be, I suggest you commit to Heinlein’s Rules. They’re five ridiculously simple rules that are all but impossible to follow. But they work:

Heinlein’s Business Habits For Writers (Heinlein’s Rules), Annotated

You might also read What Heinlein’s Rules Mean to Me and The Essential Elements of a Story.

I also recommend the following links. I will add more as I discover them:

The Newbie’s Guide To Publishing by JA Konrath

“1,000,000 Words of Fiction” by Frank Theodat — A couple of good links in this one, the second of which is below.

“The Pulp Work Ethic”  by Frank Theodat

See “Buckle Down and Write”  By

Also see the free downloads for fiction writers at my instructive daily Journal: https://hestanbrough.com/gifts-free-archives/.

As I wrote above, I’ll regularly update this page with more information about how to succeed as a fiction writer while having more fun than you ever imagined possible.

Also, if you want to write effective cover blurbs and descriptions for any genre of fiction, I strongly recommend Dean Wesley Smith’s How to Write Fiction Sales Copy. I recommend spending five bucks and buying the paperback. Mine is dogeared.