What does a fiction writer do?

Would you make a good fiction writer? Take our career test and find your match with over 800 careers.

Take the free career test Learn more about the career test

What is a Fiction Writer?

A fiction writer creates stories that are imagined, rather than based on real events or facts. They use their creativity and literary skills to develop characters, plotlines, settings, and themes that capture the readers' attention and emotions. Fiction writers may write in a variety of genres, such as romance, science fiction, mystery, horror, historical, or fantasy. They may also explore different formats, such as novels, novellas, short stories, or flash fiction.

To be a successful fiction writer, one needs to possess strong writing skills, including the ability to create compelling and believable characters, develop a captivating plot, and write in a style that engages and entertains readers. Fiction writers also need to have a vivid imagination, the ability to think creatively and critically, and a deep understanding of human nature and society. They must be dedicated to their craft, willing to spend countless hours researching, writing, editing, and revising their work to achieve their vision. Additionally, many fiction writers have a unique voice and perspective that sets them apart from other writers and attracts a devoted fanbase.

What does a Fiction Writer do?

A fiction writer jotting down some thoughts for her book while sitting on a dock.

Fiction writers shape our cultural and intellectual landscape. Through their works, they provide a window into the human experience, exploring complex themes such as love, loss, identity, and social justice. They challenge our assumptions, broaden our perspectives, and encourage empathy and understanding for people and cultures that are different from our own. Fiction writers also inspire and entertain us, transporting us to new worlds, and introducing us to fascinating characters that we may never meet in real life.

Duties and Responsibilities
As a fiction writer, your primary responsibility is to create engaging and compelling stories that captivate readers and transport them to new worlds. However, there are a variety of other duties and responsibilities that come with being a fiction writer. Here are some of the most important ones:

  • Crafting a story: Your primary responsibility is to craft a story that is engaging, interesting, and well-written. You need to create characters that readers care about, develop a plot that keeps them turning pages, and write in a style that is enjoyable to read.
  • Research: Depending on the type of fiction you are writing, you may need to do extensive research to ensure that your story is accurate and believable. This can include everything from historical research to scientific research.
  • Editing and revising: Once you have written your first draft, you will need to spend time editing and revising your work. This can involve rewriting entire chapters, cutting out unnecessary scenes or dialogue, and making sure your writing flows smoothly.
  • Marketing: As a fiction writer, you will need to spend time marketing your work. This can include building an online presence, attending book signings and other events, and networking with other writers and industry professionals.
  • Time management: Writing a novel or other long-form piece of fiction can be a time-consuming process. As a writer, it is your responsibility to manage your time effectively and make sure you are making progress on your project.
  • Meeting deadlines: If you are working with a publisher or editor, you will need to meet deadlines for submitting your work. This requires a strong sense of discipline and a commitment to staying on track with your writing schedule.
  • Continuing education: As a writer, it is important to continue learning and growing in your craft. This can involve attending writing workshops or conferences, taking online courses, or simply reading widely to improve your writing skills.

Types of Fiction Writers
There are many types of fiction writers, and individuals can fall into more than one category. Here are some common types:

  • Literary Fiction Writers: These writers focus on crafting complex prose that explores the depths of human emotion and challenges readers' assumptions. They may not fit neatly into any one genre, instead preferring to focus on character development and exploring themes such as identity, love, loss, and the human condition.
  • Genre Fiction Writers: These writers specialize in specific genres, such as science fiction, romance, fantasy, horror, or mystery. They focus on crafting stories that fit within the genre's conventions and often have a strong fan base. They may use common tropes and archetypes but still create unique characters and worlds that appeal to their readership.
  • Young Adult (YA) Fiction Writers: These writers create stories specifically aimed at a teenage audience. They often explore issues such as identity, coming of age, and first love, but can also tackle heavier topics such as mental health, trauma, and social justice. The stories may contain a strong moral or ethical message and are often told through the eyes of a young protagonist.
  • Children's Fiction Writers: These writers create stories that are tailored to children's age groups and reading levels. Picture books for younger children often focus on simple themes and use colorful illustrations to engage young readers. Middle-grade novels may explore more complex issues while still maintaining a sense of fun and wonder.
  • Historical Fiction Writers: These writers create stories set in the past, often focusing on real historical events and figures. They must balance historical accuracy with engaging storytelling and may use a blend of fact and fiction to create a compelling narrative.
  • Romance Writers: These writers focus on crafting stories centered around romantic relationships. The stories may be set in any time period or genre and may have different levels of steaminess depending on the sub-genre. The focus is often on the characters' emotional journey as they navigate the ups and downs of falling in love.
  • Crime Fiction Writers: These writers specialize in crime fiction and may focus on creating detective or police procedural stories, thrillers, or mysteries. The focus is often on solving a crime or catching a villain, but the stories can also explore the human emotions and ethical questions that arise in the pursuit of justice.
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers: These writers create stories set in fictional worlds and often include elements of magic, science, or technology. They may explore dystopian or utopian societies, alternate timelines, or parallel universes. The stories often reflect on the human condition and explore ethical questions related to the use of technology or magic.
  • Screenwriters: These writers create scripts for film or television, often adapting existing novels or creating original stories specifically for the screen. They must consider the limitations of the medium and craft a visual story that engages the audience and fits within the constraints of the production.
  • Short Story Writers: These writers focus on crafting shorter pieces of fiction that may be published in literary magazines or anthologies. The stories may explore a single theme or idea and often leave the reader with a sense of ambiguity or open-endedness. The focus is often on creating a powerful emotional impact in a small amount of space.

Fiction writers have distinct personalities. Think you might match up? Take the free career test to find out if fiction writer is one of your top career matches. Take the free test now Learn more about the career test

What is the workplace of a Fiction Writer like?

The workplace of a fiction writer can vary widely depending on their individual preferences and lifestyle. Many writers work from home, using their computer or notebook to craft their stories. They may have a dedicated workspace, such as a home office or a corner of their living room, where they can work uninterrupted. Some writers prefer to work in public spaces such as coffee shops or libraries, where they can people-watch and soak up the atmosphere.

Other writers may rent a dedicated workspace, such as a shared office or a co-working space, where they can collaborate with other writers and creatives. This type of workspace can provide a sense of community and help writers stay motivated and accountable.

Regardless of where they work, fiction writers often spend long hours alone, focusing on their craft. They may spend hours researching, outlining, and editing their stories before even beginning to write. Once they begin the actual writing process, they may work for several hours straight or take frequent breaks to refresh their creativity.

One of the biggest challenges for fiction writers is maintaining discipline and motivation. Since writing is often a solitary pursuit, it can be difficult to stay on track and meet deadlines without external accountability. Many writers use tools such as timers or productivity apps to help them stay focused and make progress on their work.

Despite the challenges, many fiction writers find the process of creating a story deeply rewarding. They have the freedom to explore their creativity and imagination, and to craft stories that resonate with readers on a deep emotional level. While the actual work of writing can be challenging, the end result is often a work of art that has the power to transport readers to new worlds and inspire them in countless ways.

Frequently Asked Questions

Writing Careers

Journalism Careers


Continue reading