MaryAnn DiorioTwain

Mary Ann Diorio has had four non-fiction books published and over 100 articles, short stories, and poems in as many publications, both Christian and secular. She holds the Ph.D. degree in French and Comparative Literature. She and her husband reside in southern New Jersey and are the blessed parents of two grown daughters. Mary Ann is currently working on her first novel. You may follow her blog, The Write Power, at

Five Fiction Facts

Writing fiction is an art based on important principles. Here are five of them:

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.

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 develop.

Start your story in the middle of the conflict.

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 readers’ interest and draws them into the story.

When writing, 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.

Remember that people read fiction for entertainment.

Don’t preach or moralize. Your message must be intrinsic to the story, not tacked on.

Keeping these five fiction facts in mind as you write will help you to craft stronger stories that your readers will not forget.