INTRODUCTION

Here on FictionPress, we're all aspiring writers, or people who like writing for fun, right? This is true and it's what makes this site such a great place, but sometimes it can be a little frustrating.

Have you ever read a story that was terrible? It was fast-paced and the characters were unlikable or the author's spelling and grammar were atrocious or the story lacked a good plot or setting.

Most likely this has happened and you have come across a "bad apple." That's probably because there are a lot of "bad apples" on FictionPress and its sister site, FanFiction, coming from wannabes and hobbyists alike.

Every story is a good one: there is no such thing as a "bad" story. That's just a matter of opinion, but sometimes it can be true. The story itself doesn't necessarily have to be "bad": the "bad" part about the story is usually how it was executed. Poor execution (no, I don't mean the beheading kind of execution) can turn good plot-lines into "bad" stories.

Nobody wants their story to become a "bad apple", right? We write so that other people can enjoy our thoughts and ideas and the world and characters we create with them.

An important thing to remember, though, is that everyone has room to improve, even famous, published writers. People who are new to writing or expect only praise can find taking constructive criticism difficult. Most of the time, the problem is that:

a) they don't want to admit that they made mistakes or

b) they don't want to fix their mistakes.

I agree that fixing mistakes can be tedious, but it's worth it. The same goes for admitting to your mistakes. If you're willing to learn new things you're going to improve, and that gives you a much better result than ignoring helpful advice. Which do you think is honestly better? Thinking you're a good writer or knowing you're a good writer who's improving all the time?

For some people perfection is everything, but this isn't exactly a quality you want to try to achieve. I know it first hand because I'm, admittedly, a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to writing stories. It will either make you unwilling to see your mistakes or it will make you over-think your stories because you want to ensure that you're giving it your all.

While it's good to try your best, you can't over-think your stories. Writing is supposed to be fun and relaxing, and it's also a great way to express yourself. If you can't enjoy it, your writing will seem stiff and forced, and that's not an effect people want to go for.

The main question is: How does one improve their writing? There are many things you can do to improve your writing, but the easiest things to do are to be accepting of other peoples' advice and to read a lot of helpful books.

I'm posting this guide on FictionPress in hopes that it will help teach users the basics of writing all in one place with free access too. I won't pretend to know all about writing, but I will try my best to write down everything I know.

If any of you reading this ever have suggestions to add on to future chapters, feel free to leave your advice (or even corrections) in a review or through PM. I will fix my mistakes gladly and add your suggestions to a related chapter with full credit to you.

Writing and its rules are very complex but they're fairly easy to learn and remember. Many of you, though, are probably wondering how you start a story. There seems to be so many steps! Writing a story can be a big project to handle, but with time and patience (and a sprinkle of criticism here and there!) you'll be able to make your story shine.

Where do you usually start a race? At a starting line! Well, the same goes for stories. The starting line in story-writing is the very first part of the main story plot—it's called the opening—and that's what we're going to look into in the next chapter: the very beginning of your story.