- Nan Russell
Fiction: Harder than it Looks
I was wrong. Fiction is harder than non-fiction. At least for me. But it’s also way more fun.
I used to believe writing non-fiction was harder than writing fiction. After all, I had experience with several non-fiction books that went from proposal to publication. So, when I listened to fiction writers at conferences, or heard their tales of woe and challenges, I failed to understand the magnitude of which they spoke.
While I dabbled in fiction attempts here and there for years, I never quite absorbed the elements of story structure, character development, or the like, until I invested the time and energy to learn the craft of fiction writing. In the process, I’ve come to understand that while they share foundational elements certainly, there is a separate art and skill to each.
I happened upon Jessica Brody’s book, Save the Cat! Writes a Novel three years ago. It became my catalyst and roadmap. While I took advantage of many resources online during the pandemic to study and learn the craft of fiction writing, and continue to do so, there are five I relied on:
Jessica Brody’s Writing Mastery Academy online classes
Jane K. Cleland's free monthly webinars
Jane Friedman’s newsletters on the business of writing
Masterclass videos from bestselling authors
Genre specific virtual learning via Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, etc.
While I don’t know yet the outcome of my first cozy mystery manuscript, I now understand those fiction writers’ tales of woe with great humility. And I know, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, I never want to stop learning the craft of writing.