Writers’ Font: Tips and Encouragement for Beginning Fiction Writers

Writers font series advice for beginning authorsIntroducing Writers’ Font, a monthly series devoted to beginning fiction writers.

My author tagline reads: Candace Williams is a late-blooming novelist who believes you can live your dream.

Easy for me to say, right? It was not easy for me to become a novelist. I was 63 when my first book was published. I’ll be 66 when the next one comes out. Yet, for many years I had dreams of being a novelist. Dreaming isn’t doing, though, is it? I hope it will be easier for you, at whatever age you decide to start. In this Writers’ Font series, I want to encourage aspiring writers to start living their own dream, now, by sharing my journey. If you’re dreaming the same dream, maybe Writers’ Font can help.

Small Blossom beginning writers

For success, we need two things: knowledge and confidence.

Knowledge of the craft of writing and encouragement along your journey will lead to confidence.

encouragement for new writers

I know it’s scary for most people to show their work to anyone. The good news is that confidence flows from knowing how to write.

What I should have done decades ago: Start learning and practicing the craft of writing. I recommend that you look around and sign up for writing courses. You might find them online or at one of your local colleges. You will have writing assignments, and in some cases you may be asked to share your work. This is invaluable, and I urge you to take advantage of the opportunity. The worst that could happen is: you might learn something that will improve your writing skills. (That’s also the best that could happen.)

Back in the day, of course, there was no Internet. Now there are inexhaustible resources to help you learn your craft. An excellent resource is right here at Indies Unlimited. Browse the KnowledgeBase and Resource Pages tabs for tons of helpful information. If want to write for children, also check out SCBWI, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. SCBWI has chapters all over the country that you can join. You’ll attend lectures, participate in friendly critique groups, meet other writers, both published and aspiring, and begin to think of yourself as an author.

Three Things You Can Start Doing Now to Build Confidence
(And Make Writing Fiction Even More Interesting and Fun)


Write Flash Fiction. I wish I’d been doing this all along. I encourage you to try it because it will teach you some of the basics of the craft, such as tightening (eliminating unnecessary words), POV (point of view), and the elements of Story (a story has a beginning, a middle, and an end.) Best of all, it will get you writing. Every Saturday Indies Unlimited has a Flash Fiction Challenge. Read the rules and how-to here. If you’ll practice writing Flash Fiction, it will boost your confidence. The more you practice, the better you’ll get. After practicing a few pieces, I hope you’ll start to feel that spark of fun that comes with writing fiction. And please do think about entering the contest when you feel ready.

Write Fanfic. While you’re studying the craft, you might look into fanfic. You can read about it here on IU and here: 15 Most Popular Fanfiction Websites. Most everyone writes and posts under a pseudonym in the cyber world of fanfic. If there’s a book or series you love, you can write stories using the same characters and worlds the original author created. Of course, you must respect the author’s wishes (for example J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, allows fanfic, but Diana Gabaldon, the Outlander series author, does not.) It should go without saying that you can’t sell your fanfic stories unless the original work is no longer under copyright. See the IU article about Kindle World, a place where you can legally write and earn royalties for fanfic based on specific works. (As far as I know, J.K. Rowling hasn’t yet authorized fanfic for Kindle World.)

Journaling. The third way I can think of to get you into the habit of writing is to encourage you to journal (every day, if possible). Probably many of you already do this. Keep at it — you’re training your brain to write!

In coming months, Writers’ Font articles will focus on two essential elements in fiction writing: point-of-view and show vs. tell. With a level of mastery of these two elements of Craft, your writing will become more focused, clear, and exciting to read.

Don’t despair if it all seems too complicated at first. Remember, practice is the way to build confidence.

Author: Candace Williams

Candace Williams lives with her husband and beloved rescued Iggys (Italian Greyhounds) in Texas. Her first novel, THE EARTHQUAKE DOLL, was inspired by her early experiences in post-war Japan while her father was serving in the Korean Conflict. Learn more about Candace on her website and her Author Central page.

15 thoughts on “Writers’ Font: Tips and Encouragement for Beginning Fiction Writers”

  1. Candace, great first steps for anyone. Before I ever heard of Flash Fiction or Fanfic, I was journaling regularly, still do when I need to bug out a problem. I’ve never been the disciplined type (writing x number of words a day), but I’ve always gotten plenty of writing time in somehow. And you’re absolutely right; writing, reading, learning and practicing the craft does build confidence. The one bit of advice I give to every newbie writer I know is: keep writing. Keep working at it. Keep adding more pages, even paragraphs. It may not seem like much in one day, but it mounts up.
    Oh, and congratulations on your “late blooming”! Better late than never!

    1. Since most writers are introverts, I believe building confidence is extremely important. It’s a courageous step to put yourself out there. So yes, practice practice practice.

      1. ‘I believe building confidence is extremely important.’ For some of us, at least, confidence is THE key. I wrote and practised my writing for well over ten years before I finally gained the confidence to publish, and it was not until my second effort that I really dared to think of myself as a ‘writer’. Even now, there’s a moment of hesitation before I introduce myself as a writer. Still working on that confidence thing. 🙂

        1. Me too, Meeka. Writing – especially writing fiction – involves putting some of your deepest thoughts and feelings down for other people to read … and judge. ::shudder:: This ain’t for wimps! Yet, we keep writing toward the dream of publication. A strange species, we.

  2. Dear Candice,

    Your article is right on and it is a pleasure to hear from someone my age. In October 2015, I discovered Indies unlimited and decided to try my hand at flash fiction and improve my writing skills.

    In January 2016, Indies Unlimited posted a link to the “Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story” competition a 2,000 to 2,500 word contest. I wrote a beautiful futuristic science fiction story “The Last Master of Go” which is filled with symbolism and dry humor.

    On April 21, 2016, I was awarded 1st place in the 2016 English Language category with my short story “The Last Master of Go” beating out 68 entries. I am highly grateful to Indies Unlimited for bringing this competition to my attention and for creating the weekly flash fiction writing prompts, which I encourage all to participate in.

    Thank you very much,
    Joe Wocoski

    1. We late-bloomers are in the “write” place. I’m so grateful to IU. I think one of the fun parts of doing the series is searching IU’s resources for links to include, because just about anything I write about will have at least one or two in-depth articles on the same subject!

      Congratulations on practicing writing flash fiction, having the courage to enter contests, and on winning! Do you intend to stay with short stories, or are you thinking of writing a novel sometime in the future?

      1. Thank you for asking,

        Now that I am retired from my day job, I am finally able to finish up my word search book series so I can start focusing my time on my writing. For now I really enjoy writing flash fiction and short stories, and I want to build my skills and establish myself as a story teller before I tackle a novel. Like my characters, I am letting my stories take on a life of their own and pick their own story length.

        My first anthology will have my futuristic sci-fi short story “The Last Master of Go” as the cornerstone of it and will be the title. If you enter a contest, please read the fine print very carefully for what rights they want and what rights you keep. I only enter contests, which allow me to retain all the rights to my entries afterward, so whether I win or loose I can re-use my entry as I please. The ones to look for are first publication rights. If their terms are to convoluted and wordy don’t enter.

        My first anthology will be a reader friendly book sort of an introduction to the stories I write and between 120-140 pages long containing my expanded flash fiction entries rounded out into short tales, to each I am adding a brief 2 or 3 line introduction, sort of like a twilight zone introduction, to tweak the reader’s curiosity and filling in the tales to end up between 2 to 10 pages long, most under 5 pages. I plan to publish this first book of tales between now and Halloween.

        I hope this encourages and helps others to start writing,

        1. You’re doing it “write.” And yes, I think it will be very encouraging. Also thanks for the tip about reading the fine print when entering contests (or anything else.)

          When your book is published be sure to post the link in the Thrifty Thursday and/or Print Book features here. Best of luck to you, Joe.

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