Christian Writer's Market Guide
by MaryAnn Diorio, Ph.D
Writing fiction is an art based on important principles.
Here are five of them:
1. Character comes before plot.
Just as people still argue over the proverbial question,
Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?, writers of
fiction argue over what comes first, character or plot?
We Christians know that the chicken came first since God
directly created the chicken. The egg, then, comes out of
the chicken. The same is true in the best fiction--the
kind of fiction that most impacts lives. The author
creates the character, and the plot then comes out of the
character. Think about the best stories you've read. What
comes to mind first--a character or the plot? Most often,
it is a character who remains branded in your memory,
long after the plot is forgotten.
2. Plot evolves out of character.
What your characters do is your story. Therefore, before
you even begin to write, you must know your
characters--what motivates or drives them. It is out of
this knowing that your story (or plot) will emerge and
3. Start your story in the middle of the
Think about screenplays or television dramas. The story
always opens in the middle of a conflict or problem. It
is the same in fiction. Start your story at a point of
conflict. This immediately captures your reader's
interest and draws him into the story.
4. Think of yourself as a camera.
Stories are not written in words; they are written in
pictures. The mind operates in images, not words. For
example, when I say "house", do you see the
letters h-o-u-s-e, or do you see an image of a house,
most likely your own? The answer is obvious.
5. Remember that people read fiction for
Don't preach or moralize. Your message must be intrinsic
to the story, not tacked on.
© 2004 by MaryAnn L. Diorio, Ph.D.. All rights reserved.
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Dr. Mary Ann Diorio is a popular public speaker, author,
and life and writing coach. She works with writers
one-on-one to help them fulfill their writing dreams. Dr.
MaryAnn also speaks on a variety of topics, including
writing and life management issues. To learn more about
Dr. MaryAnn, visit her websites at www.maryanndiorio.com or at www.CelebrationCoaching.com.