Ultimate Fiction Writing Guide

A Comprehensive Guide for Writers – and Aspiring Writers – of Fiction


Ernest Hemingway once said, “It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.” And he was correct. Even if you’re struggling with fiction writing now, that doesn’t mean you will forever. Even the most skilled of fiction writers didn’t hone their craft to perfection without assistance from inspirational sources, seasoned advisers, great editors and the pages of instructional books. Whether you’re a novice to the fictional writing genre or someone more experienced, you’re sure to find something of value tucked away in this guide filled with 43 worthwhile fiction-writing resources, including fiction prompts and exercises, short story and novel writing resources, and more.

General Fiction Writing Resources

Here is an assortment of general resources that address writer’s block, introduce story development tools, inform about writing scams and more.

911 Writer’s Block

This link takes you to a fun, interactive phone application that will allow you to dial a digit for whatever specific writer’s block ailment you are suffering.

100 Best First Lines

Read the best first lines of 100 different novels, from the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to the Wide Sargasso Sea.

Story 2.0

Discover two visual story development tools that can help you map out the course of your novel or screenplay on one page.

Mind Map Any Idea or Project

Learn about mind-mapping, a visual tool that graphically organizes brainstorming sessions.

Writing Scams and Schemes

The writing and publishing world has a dark side. It harbors plenty of predators waiting to take advantage of earnest writers. Find out how to sidestep bad situations.

Fiction Writing Exercises and Prompts

When least expected writer’s block can appear out of nowhere. Or maybe you’re just suffering from a creative dry spell. If any of this sounds familiar, check out these fiction writing exercises and prompts that can help launch your creative side.

Fiction Writing Exercises

Find 11 fiction writing exercises such as “Money” and “Falling Out of the Sky” that can help you develop your own story.

6 Great Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers

This article places a different spin on writing exercises with the goal of keeping your writing fresh.

Fiction Exercises

Jumpstart your fictional writing with these 17 exercises that you can alter as you wish.

Seven Flash Fiction Exercises for Novel Writing

Are you dreaming of writing a novel, but you don’t have the time? Check out these flash fiction exercises that will have you developing the bones of your next novel in no time.

Sketch a Novel in an Hour

A free-writing exercise that’s helpful for anyone wanting to write a novel, short story or screenplay.

10 Keys to Writing Dialogue in Fiction

10 helpful tips to creating dialogue for your fiction piece. As a bonus? Two dialogue writing exercises.

100 Short Story or Novel Writing Prompts

Discover a plethora of writing prompts that will put your creative writing powers in gear.

Short Story Writing Resources

Whether you lack inspiration or you need direction condensing your brilliant, short story idea into 10,000 words or less, the following resources can help.

Short Story Tips

Writing a short story is quite different from writing a novel because you have less words in which to set the scene, introduce the conflict and reach the ending. Find out how to successfully write a short story without having to stall or start over.

Writing Your Own Short Story

A seven-page document with plenty of details regarding prewriting, drafting and revising a short story.

Writing the Short Story: Points to Ponder

A look at the key elements of short stories from author Laurel Anne Hill.

One Hundred Short Story Basic Ideas

Stumped for an idea for your short story? Follow this link to discover inspiration.

Novel Writing Resources

First-time novelists or authors who already have a few completed works to their credit can utilize the following novel writing resources for helpful insight.

5 Things You Need to Know Before You Write a Novel

Larry Brooks, a bestselling novelist offers his advice to aspiring writers to help them avoid making mistakes the first time they write a novel.

The Snowflake Method for Designing a Novel

Randy Ingermanson, publisher of six novels and holder of dozens of writing awards, shares a method that works for him when writing a novel.

Footsteps to a Novel

A five-step process to writing a novel that borrows from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves as a familiar example.

Advice on Novel Writing by Crawford Killian

Discover a wealth of valuable information – 180 pages to be exact – about writing a novel.

One-Pass Revision

This revision method for novelists only takes one pass because it’s extremely thorough and time consuming, but it can yield positive results.

Revising a Novel

Best-selling suspense author James Scott Bell offers his practical advice on revising your novel.

Basic Elements of a Novel

Plot, character and setting are three of the most important basic elements when writing a novel. Take some time to browse the following resources to help you find ways to more effectively develop all three.

Plot Generator

An entertaining and useful way to help anyone come up with a plot for their next fiction story.

Plot Video Playlist

Find everything from quick tips to detailed information on how to plot any part of a story within these videos.

The Top Ten Plotting Problems

Head off plotting problems before they occur by learning about the most common ones now.

Fifty Plot Twists

Invigorate a flagging plot with one of these fifty plot twist ideas that are yours for the taking.

Character Resources

Within a work of fiction, dynamic, interesting and motivated characters are what make a story worth reading. Check out the following links to learn how to effectively develop them.

Seven Common Character Types

Discover descriptions and examples of seven common character types that can help fiction writers develop their characters more effectively.

Character Chart

A free character chart from author Charlotte Dillion that offers you the opportunity to flesh out your fictional characters in great detail.

Six Distinctions in Motivating Characters

Characters need motivation to create action and move the plot along. Yet, that motivation needs to be believable. Find out how to create it.

Naming Your Characters

This article examines the three things to keep in mind when naming characters – personality, ethnicity and the century of birth.

The Character Therapist

Therapist Jeannie Campbell takes her love of psychology and writing and offers to evaluate and diagnose your fictional character in a typed report that you can use to create more realistic character.

An Introduction to Writing Characters in Fiction

OWL Writing Lab at Purdue University presents helpful resources for character creation and development that provide information about character archetypes and much more.

How to Create Characters that are Believable and Memorable

Discover the four main criteria you need to meet to create characters readers will enjoy.

Writing Character Sketches

This link will help you learn how to write character sketches so you can become better at creating characters.

Setting Resources

Crafting the perfect setting to pull in readers isn’t all about describing the location. Find out what it takes to create a setting that will catapult your story to another level.

Discover the Basic Elements of Setting in a Story

Learn about the fundamental elements of setting and how they work within a story.

Author’s Craft: Setting

Learn how to answer the questions of what, why, how, when and where when creating a setting.

Fictional vs. Real Settings: Which is Best?y

An examination of fictional settings and real settings to help you determine which one would be best suited for your project.

How to Introduce Setting

This link is for anyone who needs to know how to successfully craft a setting. It offers an insightful writing exercise.

Fiction Writing Teaching Resources

Discover fiction-writing lesson plans, units, topics and more for students in elementary to high school.

Arts Edge

A searchable collection of high-quality creative writing lesson plans for elementary, middle and high school students.

Reading and Writing Flash Fiction

From the Learning Network of the New York Times comes this extensive lesson plan for teachers who want to introduce students to flash fiction.

Resources for Creative Writing Teachers

Check out this ready-to-use, 12-lesson creative writing unit with plenty of activities and exercises.

Creative Writing Ideas

Find some great writing ideas here such as designing a room for a chocolate factory or writing traditional stories from a different point of view.

How to Teach Creative Writing

This link takes you to a 35-page PDF booklet that has lessons and ideas for teaching creative writing to elementary, middle and high school students.