Illustration to Tennyson's "Sleeping Beauty" by W. E. F. Britten
Fiction is such a subjective thing. I must admit I am a bit uncomfortable giving advice to anyone about writing, but that has more to do with my own innate insecurities than it does with any accumulation of knowledge or experience I might be able to share.
Being a writer is a bit like walking down the street naked, at least for me. Friends and family who read my work are often struck by how much they reveal about me. I am not sure whether or not my readers recognize that until after we meet at a convention. That is the blessing and the curse of any artistry.
I started writing this, asking myself about the problems that face writers like me, and I thought I would talk about critics, bad reviews, and how to deal with people that misunderstood something you wrote. But the biggest problem a writer will face is him or herself.
I know a lot of writers. You may not know this, but a writer emits an ultrasonic sound that only other writers can hear. While that might not be true, I find it odd how often I will be in a group of strangers talking and then we suddenly realized that were all writers. One of the things that I have learned from that is that an honest author is a good author.
Every author I have ever met that was an honest person, I later found I enjoyed their work. Oddly enough, the same as in true in reverse.
An honest author puts their soul on the page, and their fiction benefits from it. If you want to improve your fiction, the first place to start is by asking yourself were you honest on the page. Look for the lies, half-truths, and equivocations. Those places where you wrote something you thought other people would like, instead of what you really wanted to put their. Rewrite those sections honestly. Your fiction and your readers will thank you for it.
How honest are you in your fiction? Do you think I am crazy for telling you to follow your vision? Let me know what your experience has been.