We all want to write the best fiction we can. Sometimes it can really pay off to learn from writers who have gone before us, so that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel, and so that we can improve our writing as quickly as possible!

Writing fiction is hard. There are lots of things to consider in a novel, like how to write characters, how to write dialogue, how to construct a plot, how to make tension rise, how to write an antagonist, and how to work in exposition. Below we’ve collected some of the best classic fiction writing tips.

Where can I find Expert Level Writing Tips?

It’s a great idea to turn to experts for advice, as their wisdom has often come from years of study and practice. Below we’ve collected some expert level writing tips from well respected books about the art and craft of writing fiction.

Is Creative Writing Hard?

The answer is that yes, all creative writing is hard, not just fiction. The tips that are gathered below are relevant for all forms of creative writing to some extent. So make sure to think about how the lessons you learn about fiction can be applied to your screenwriting, playwriting, or poems.

Creative Writing Tips for When you Have Lost your Creative Spark

We all know that if you feel stuck in a rut that you can lose your creative spark. When you get that feeling that you have hit a wall that you cannot climb over. That is the perfect time to take a step back, and seek advice from others.

So here are five creative writing tips from legendary creative writers. 

What is the Best Writing Advice from Ernest Hemingway?

“As a writer you should not judge, you should understand.”

Ernest Hemingway On Writing

Then get in somebody else’s head for a change. If I bawl you out try to figure what I’m thinking about as well as how you feel about it. If Carlos curses Juan think what both their sides of it are. Don’t just think who is right. As a man things are as they should or shouldn’t be. As a man you know who is right and who is wrong. You have to make decisions and enforce them. As a writer you should not judge. You should understand.”

Do Editors Give Good Writing Advice? 

“Place the character’s name or pronoun first in a speaker attribution.”

Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King

“Place the character’s name or pronoun first in a speaker attribution (Dave said). Reversing the two (said Dave), though often done, is less professional. It has a slightly old-fashioned, first-grade-teacher flavor (“Run spot, run,” said Jane). After all, ‘said he’ fell out of favor sometime during the Taft administration.”

What is the Best Writing Advice by Francine Prose?

“No nonsense austerity gives authority.”

Reading Like A Writer by Francine Prose

“The no nonsense austerity of a sentence’s construction gives it a kind of authority that – like Moby Dick’s first sentence, “Call me Ishmael” -makes us feel that the author is in control, an authority that draws us farther into the story.”

What is the Best Writing Tip by Milan Kundera?

Tone is Crucial.

The Art of the Novel by Milan Kundera

“From time to time I like to intervene directly as author, as myself. In that case, tone is crucial. From the very first word, my thoughts have a tone that is playful, ironic, provocative, experimental, or inquiring.”

What is the Best Writing Advice by Dorothea Brande?

“Discover as early as possible one’s own tastes and excellences.”

Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande

“The best way to escape the temptation to imitate is to discover as early as possible one’s own tastes and excellences. Here, in the sheaf of pages you have written during this period of habit-making, is priceless laboratory material for you. What, on the whole, do you write, when you set down the first things that occur to you?” 

For more creative writing tips, check out these books! 


Oliver Adams

Letter Review was founded by Oliver Adams, who is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing, casual academic, and guest lecturer at the University of New South Wales. Oliver Adams has had short stories published in leading literary journals such as Overland, Southerly, Seizure, and TEXT. He has had novels long listed for major awards such as the KYDUMA, has received government funding to produce plays from Create NSW and screenplays from Screen NSW, and has performed / produced professional work at major theatrical venues such as the Sydney Opera House.

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Five Ways to Write a Good Antagonist, or Villain | Writing Journal · 10/04/2021 at 12:05 pm

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