Most writers will tell you that if you want to know how to get started in fiction writing then just write. While that is very true, for a story will not write itself, you must decide a few things first. What genre are you going write? What are you interested in? What do you read?
First you have to pick the genre. Do you like Fantasy, Horror, Romance, Crime, or Thriller? For me, it is Horror, Fantasy, and Thriller. Next you probably already have an idea of what you would like to write. So what do you do now? You get you figure out your setting and characters. How many characters are you going to have? What is the problem your protagonist will encounter? Does he have any flaws? Something he has to overcome before he solves the problem that he is presented with? How many supporting characters will there be? The best way to do this is write it all out on paper.
First write out the basic idea you have. Now work on your protagonist, give them a name, what do they look like, how do they act, etc. This is called fleshing out. List your secondary characters such as the protagonist’s friends, family. Then go ahead and list any other supporting characters such as the corner store owner or the pharmacist down the street. As you start to design your supporting characters guess what, you have taken your first step on setting. They have to live and work somewhere right?
Once this is done you are probably thinking now I can get started writing. You actually are correct but a word of warning. There are those who talk about being a writer and those who actually write. It will be the most frustrating, loneliest time you have ever experienced yet the most rewarding when you look at your finished product and see an 80,000+ word manuscript sitting before you. What did it take to get there? Telling friends that you are not going out that night, shutting yourself away from the outside world, writing on your lunch break at work, telling your loved ones to give you some free time or if you have kids staying up late after they go to bed: Sacrifice. That is what separates the wana-be writers from the real writers.
The question you have to ask yourself is how badly do you want this? Are you willing to give up some free time from your loved ones and friends to get those words down? Are you willing to spend at least two hours a day or more at home away from everything else? If you said yes to this then you do have the heart of a writer for it takes drive and determination. You must write even if you don’t feel inspired to do so, even if you are second guessing your idea. Just remember it does not have to be perfect it is only the first draft after all. The polishing comes after. You just got to get it down. That is the hard part.
What else does it take to get started in fiction writing? Thick skin and tenacity. What do you mean after all my hard work that you’re not going to accept my manuscript? Guess what. It happens. Even to the best of the professional writers who have had several novels under their belt they get rejected too. It took a year of constant submitting before I got my first short story published. Not everyone will love what you wrote but some of those rejections may tell you what you can do to make it better. It is nothing personal. Writing is a business.
Before you dive into that novel, try writing a few short stories and submitting them even to non-paying markets. You’re not out to make money right away. Name recognition is what you’re after. Building platform. Join a local writing group or if you have none then there are communities online. Look up your favorite authors on their websites and you will probably find some really great free advice. But the most important thing you have to understand to be a writer, you must first write.