#004 - Do you have a worthwhile story?
Most who write fiction do so by referring to a memory bank of people, places and events needing to be recalled in some sort of order. They will then be mixed with a set of fictional circumstances that actually make up the story. A fiction writer is simply a 'story teller' who will often admit that many of the characters, some of the places and an embellished set of events, have been gathered together from real memories of real people in real situations. Therefore, as a fiction writer, make sure that your characters are as unrecognizable as sensibly possible by the real person, especially where character names are concerned.
The Research Plan - You have the story-line in your head. You have a beginning, a middle and an end ... so what do you need to 'Research'? Well, for example, if your story calls for someone to have their head blown off with an AK47, using a standard 7.62mm round at a range of 600 meters, then at some stage in the future, someone, somewhere, will write indignantly to you advising that the effective range of such weaponry would only be around 400 meters.
You have now lost a fan, along with a future book sale and he will enjoy telling all his mates that you are an 'inaccurate' writer. He may, of course, also use other more descriptive adjectives. When you are writing fiction with a scenario in the past or present, then you need to make sure that everything research-able is indeed, well researched. From makes of cars driven, to types of watches consulted: from the ring of a particular telephone type to the name of a hotel that your character stayed in. It will be essential for the survival of your story to make sure every item is seen to be reality within the fiction scenario you have conjured up.
The Characters - The characters that hold together your story-line are so well formed in your head that you don't need to do anything, other than simply throw their names down on the page in the right order and get them moving. In your own world of fiction, that's absolutely fine. However, this process allows the possibility of you writing some of your characters into roles, within the story-line, that they are not equipped to handle.
Having a seventy year old ex truck driver running a three minute mile, then jumping a twelve foot wide stream, to escape the clutches of the villain on a bicycle moving at twenty miles an hour, will raise eyebrows amongst some of your more 'picky' readers ... and may even prompt them to put your beautifully written work down.
Perhaps you should ensure that you have written a full 'Bio' for each of your characters and as you write, you will suddenly see so much more, or so much less in them that you originally thought. Store the 'Bio's' in a separate folder, one document file for each character and every now and again, look at them in detail to ensure that your characters and the situations they find themselves in are reasonable.
So, remembering these few simple disciplines will hopefully make your fiction book, your story-line and the characters more acceptable to your readers. There are of course hundreds of tips and tricks to learn as a writer, but this is not a lecture and you are not a student. You are a writer and all the really important lessons you will ever learn will be by simply getting involved in the process.