Job Description of a Professional Fiction Writer

Sep 19, 2019

If you are good at writing and storytelling, then a career as a fiction writer may be for you. These professionals require a college degree and excellent language skills. They need to be creative, understand writing mechanics, and possess knowledge of story writing elements.

Essential Information

Fiction writers create original written works that are not intended to be taken as literally true. Fiction writers create new ideas for stories through creative thinking and the use of writing exercises. Writers and authors generally have a bachelor's degree and an excellent grasp of language rules.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 0% (for all writers and authors)*
Median Salary (2018) $62,170 (for all writers and authors)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description of Fiction Writers

Fiction writers are authors of novels, plays, movies, poetry, songs and other original writings. Fiction writers may publish their own writings, submit work to other publishers or accept commissioned assignments. Many are freelancers who work from their homes.

Fiction Writer Job Duties

Fiction writers conjure new ideas to create stories, lyrics, scripts and poems, typically choosing one genre of fiction in which to work. They use a variety of writing exercises and prompts to stimulate inspiration for new writings. Writing exercises usually provide a scenario the fiction writer uses as a prompt to create a story.

Writing regularly in journals is another tool that fiction writers use to encourage creative thinking. Fiction writers may alter or embellish real-life experiences in their works. Reading the work of other fiction writers they admire may also stimulate fiction writers' imaginations.

Fiction writers are knowledgeable about story elements such as character, plot, theme, dialogue, style, point of view and conflict. They're storytellers who use detailed descriptions so that readers envision the story playing out. Writing fiction requires balancing artistic creativity with the skills of the craft.

Although fiction writing is not meant to be accepted as literal fact, research is often done to create a sense of authenticity. This helps the writer create more detailed and believable descriptions, which makes the writing more interesting. It also helps transport the reader into the story.

Rewriting and revising are a big part of each piece written by fiction writers. The first revisions are self-imposed so that the story meets the fiction writer's own standards. Editors, publishers and clients may then request certain revisions. Fiction writers are proficient in grammar, syntax and writing mechanics.

Fiction writers may conduct meetings with publishers, clients, other writing professionals and people interested in purchasing their writings. They plan and organize different jobs to help provide the discipline, focus and self-motivation to get each project done. Some clients may prefer a certain format for a given project, and fiction writers must adhere to those standards.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), writers and authors in general earned an annual median wage of $62,170 in 2018. The BLS predicted slow job growth of 0% from 2018-2028 for writers and authors.

Fiction writers typically require a bachelor's degree in language or writing. A slower than average job growth was projected through 2028. The median annual salary for writers and authors in generally is about $62,170.

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