How To Write Fiction Without The Fuss: introduction

Welcome to our brand new series!

How to write fiction without the fussLucy McCarraher is a writer who has written in many genres over the years – she has been a journalist and reviewer; written TV scripts, business and research reports; self-help books and novels. She’s also an editor and publisher who has worked on manuscripts and with authors of all kinds. There’s no genre of writing she doesn’t enjoy, but for her the novel – to both read and write – is the ultimate art form, educational tool, entertainment medium and guilty pleasure. We are incredibly lucky to have Lucy write this series of articles for us here on HTWB … to help you get started … or get moving if you need some encouragement … on your own fiction writing in the simplest, clearest possible ways. Here’s Lucy…

For all the articles in this series check out the category “Fiction Without The Fuss.” Click on <<<— this link or go to the sidebar on the right —>>>

If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at fiction, started a novel or short story, or completed a manuscript but think it lacks a certain something, then stick with me. Over the next few weeks this series is going to look at every aspect of fiction writing and give you an understanding of the fundamentals along with tools and tips to enhance your writing proficiency.

You don’t have to commit to writing a novel to be a fiction writer: you can tell a micro-story in a few hundred words – known as flash fiction; a short story might run from 2,000 to 10,000 words; a novelette would take you up to 20,000 words, while a novella would be a little longer, but less than 50,000 words. Once you get beyond 50,000 words, you are definitely into novel territory; over 200,000 and you’ve written an epic! Fiction can also be written in verse, blank or rhyming, so poets may be interested too. We will look at all these forms in more detail.

All these types of fiction, though, require their writers to address the key elements – story and theme; plot and exposition; character delineation and development; setting and season; climax and anti-climax; action and resolution; not to mention genre, niche and writing style.

Although inspiration and creativity are important factors in the art of writing fiction, it is just as important to understand the craft – even science – of story-writing, from grammar and punctuation through to use of metaphor and symbolism in spinning the threads of your imagined world.

How to write fiction without the fussAll these are vital, but before you even set pen to paper (or finger to key, more likely), you must take the time to think, to dream, to imagine… Some writers take up to a year to allow their creative juices to bubble around their central story, the lives of their characters and the world they inhabit. This internal development is the first step to creating a strong work of fiction and is not one that can be skipped.

If you are setting out on your novel or short story, start to form in your mind the parallel universe that will become your creative writing. Get into the habit of living in that place, time and environment whenever you’re alone, doing a mundane task, walking or travelling (warning: be careful when driving or operating machinery!). Remember that your subconscious has access to a mass of information your conscious mind does not so set it on autopilot. When it needs supplementing, your library and the internet contain the rest.

For now, don’t write a thing. Just use that very powerful mechanism, your brain, to start the creative process that will become your work of fiction. Then go to the next post in the series – #2 – where we create an outline structure for your plot and storyline. 

For all the articles in this series check out the category “Fiction Without The Fuss.” Click on <<<— this link or go to the sidebar up a way on the right —>>>

Lucy McCarraher

Lucy McCarraher


Managing Editor, Rethink Press.


Useful further reading for your fiction and non-fiction:

“Super Speeches”…how to write and deliver them well
“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write
“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English
“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English
“English to English: the A to Z of British-American translations”…more than 2,000 business and social terms from the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand
“The English Language Joke book”…hundreds of laughs about this crazy language of ours
“How To Write Winning Non-fiction”…all you need to know to write a good non-fiction book and get it published

photo credit: Mike Licht, via photopin cc




  1. This sounds exciting. I’m looking forward to read more!

  2. Hi Lucy, welcome to Suze’s team! You’ve whet my appetite already. Look forward to more.

    • Hi Angelika and Lynn, I hope to live up to your expectations! Feel free to suggest any areas you are particularly interested in and would like me to cover.

      • I need to work on my characterization, judging by what I was told be a certain fiction editor I know 😉 … re: a novel of mine. My problem is that whenever I write fiction – not very often, I agree – I base my characters on an amalgamation of people I know. I then get to know the characters so well that people wonder if I’m a schiz with “imaginary friends…” E.G., when the lovely young guy who is doing illustrations for one novel asks me what a given character looks like I can describe them right down to the last detail. Now, are these characters clichés, pedestrian and boring, purely because they are very lifelike / true to life? Or is it that I can see them perfectly and know their personalities inside out, but am not sharing that information sufficiently with readers?

  3. Looking forward to this series! I’m not sure I’ll ever write fiction, but I do appreciate the concept of enlisting one’s subconscious mind to become more creative.


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