10 Tips for Writing Literary Fiction

Literary fiction. The thing you read in grade school and hate, and the thing you read as an adult that makes you feel pretty damn mature and suave. Here are some top ten type tips for writing the best literary fiction if you’re just starting out.

  1. Craft your prose like it’s a work of art. Read it aloud to yourself to hear the music within it.
  2. Experiment with the prose. Instead of being flowery, make it abstract. Dissect the words into separate pieces, putting them back together again for the ultimate story
  3. Insert snatches of dialogue. Try to keep the dialogue either realistic or poetic. Or do a juxtaposition of both
  4. Have the conflict of your main protagonist be internal. Literary fiction usually runs on the theme of personal growth
  5. Your main protagonist should be interesting. It’s self-explanatory writing 101. If your main protagonist is a Mary Jane, then nobody will want to read about it
  6. Give your character a special trait. What is their ultimate personality pointer? Is it their dissent into madness? Do they struggle with social interactions?
  7. You ought to have an antagonist. Whether that antagonist is physical or a product of the mind, a spiritual illness or a crippling event, you should have the main protagonist fight against something
  8. Literary fiction is usually written to hold a mirror up to life and reflect truth back. Have an ultimate message you want to send in the piece, even if it’s just a single word: loneliness, revenge, redemption…
  9. Write an ending that the reader won’t forget. Whether you go for shock value or a tear-jerking conclusion, you don’t want the reader to move on and say: “well that was anti-climactic”.
  10. Ignore steps 1-9. Sometimes literary fiction cannot be defined by narrow boundaries. The best way to find your own voice as an author is to just go out there, put your heart on the line, and write.

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