Monday, January 21, 2013

How to Get Started Writing Fiction

by Lorilyn Roberts
2012 Writing Boot Camp with Jerry Jenkins, James Scott Bell, Dennis E. Hensley, DiAnn Mills, and many more, including me (Lorilyn Roberts) 

How many people have a book in them they want to write? How many procrastinators will actually sit down and write that book? I recently did a phrase look-up on AdWords and discovered that in “Global Monthly Searches,” the term “writing a book” was searched 2,240,000 times, “How to write a book” was searched 550,000 times.

I had promised a friend a couple of months ago I would write an article to help her learn how to write fiction. She is a best-selling author of nonfiction but felt like God was calling her to write fiction.

Because I had just finished my Masters in Creative Writing, several books swirled through my head I thought would be helpful. With this many searches being done online for those wanting to write a book, perhaps these suggestions will help those hoping to write fiction.

One thing I want to stress is writing fiction takes time to learn—unless you are one of those gifted writers who knows without being taught. If you are a prodigy, you don’t need to read this blog. If you aren’t, I have several books I would recommend to help you get started. These are books I read as part of my Masters in Creative Writing. I will hyperlink the books to Amazon so you can read more or buy them.

1.      Scene& Structure, by Jack M. Bickham (only in print copy)
2.      Plot& Structure, by James Scott Bell (both print and Kindle editions)
Check out this video by James Scott Bell:
3.      How to Write Killer Fiction, by Carolyn Wheat (both print and Kindle editions)
4.      Creating Unforgettable Characters, by Linda Seger

I would also recommend if you are serious about writing, that you find a local writer’s critique group. The process of writing a book is daunting, and other writers will encourage and help you along the way. One good organization of which I am a part is Word Weavers International. You can check out their website at There are many chapters all over the country. If there isn’t one in your area, start one by contacting Eva Marie Everson at

Other resources to develop skills as a writer is from Jerry B. Jenkins. Check out this video by Jerry Jenkins:

I would also encourage you to read a lot. Read books you wouldn’t normally read to stretch your mind and open the window to more creativity. Reading and writing fiction will take you to places you’ve never been and cause you to think about old ideas in new ways. By feeding your mind with new plots and storylines outside your bailiwick now, you will create building blocks to invent future stories.

The best thing I did was give myself permission to read fiction. I became as a little child once again, remembering how much I loved stories bigger than life—heroes from the past in books I once read and put away, believing I was too old to read fiction and too busy to indulge myself in the luxury of enjoying them.

Discovering who we are through writing is a journey worth taking. Penning fiction will open the door to your heart and reveal things in a way nonfiction can’t. I only listed four books above so as not to overwhelm the beginner. After reading these books, you will find more that will interest you. The key is to get started and keep dreaming. Believe you can write fiction, learn a little each day, and then just do it.

Writing a Book - Part Two will feature writing nonfiction.

To learn more about Lorilyn Roberts, visit her website at


  1. Lorilyn, I hope you are planning to turn this into an ebook. I am involved in a non-fiction project right now, but the next one is going to be an adult fiction. I need this information so I will be reading this with great interest! Thank you for thinking to do this.

  2. This will be put in the new book I will be publishing to support our project in Nepal to help the orphans and build the first Christian library in Kathmandu. All the proceeds will go toward the project. Let know if you are interested in writing a chapter. I can do it faster if I have contributions from others. I am planning on going for two weeks in August to kick things off. Lots of money will be needed to take the books over and build the building. More information will be forthcoming.

  3. Thanks for the structure suggestions. I'll check them out.