Confessions of a Fiction Writing Addict

"A novelist’s job is to slip stress, tension, and conflict into the lives of three-dimensional characters."

Fiction writing addicts tend to have a common set of traits, and these are personal and professional. It’s who we are, how we think, and how we process information. Fiction writers are wired to juggle character, plot, emotion, dialogue, setting, and thoughts like priceless pieces of art.


Sometimes I look at the world as though I’m standing on my head. From there, I often find a vantage point, like exploring where a character has been and working my way backward. The experience affects sensory perception and results in metaphors and similes unique to a character and my voice. Experiment by placing your character in different scenarios. See if you don’t learn something new about your character and story.


One of the reasons writers enjoy writing in coffee houses is eavesdropping. Wait! you say. I thought the coffee and solitude paved the way for meaningful prose. And it does but overhearing bits of juicy dialogue and noting body language is a field trip on improving our craft. Witty writers jot down what is said and how it’s said to use in current or future stories.


Stories are everywhere, from crowded grocery store lines to front-page media news. Zoos, museums, and high school sports offer incredible ideas. Every breath we experience can become an element in a potential story. A novelist’s job is to slip stress, tension, and conflict into the lives of three-dimensional characters.


Busy crowds show motivation. If you have doubts, watch people elbow through a mass of young and old. They have a place to go and nothing will stop them. Take the time to count how many women with strollers don’t have a baby inside but are using it to push through others. What about people with pets? Tugging along kids? Escorting an elderly person? The novelist knows the inner person is revealed in what is shown to others.


Caffeine wires most of us. While some rely on tea or soft drinks, I’m a coffee drinker and behave as though caffeine is directly wired to my creativity.


Family and friends call us quirky or eccentric because we tend to live in our own worlds. And we like it. Who wants to resemble everyone else?


Viewing movies and TV shows can be frustrating to those around us. But we can’t help editing dialogue and plot—even giving away the ending.


Eating habits can be peculiar. When we’re zoned into writing, food may have little interest. Other times, we’re ravenous.


To sleep or not to sleep. Rarely do writers observe decent bedtimes or an appropriate hour to rise. Instead, we create in the stillness of late night after others are asleep or we’re up long before the rooster crows to get a head start on our work.


Leisure time and vacations may be nonexistent because our minds refuse to shut down. Relaxing, unless we’re exhausted, means another way to approach creativity. Our imaginations take over, and we don’t mind.


No task or time is ever wasted. Our best ideas may come in the shower, cleaning, pulling weeds, pumping gas, taking out the trash, and whatever else claims our time.


Are you a fiction writer? Do you have any bizarre traits that make others laugh or shake their heads at the absurdity? 




DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She weaves memorable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. DiAnn believes every breath of life is someone’s story, so why not capture those moments and create a thrilling adventure?


Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards, the Golden Scroll, Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and Carol Awards contests.


DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, an active member of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, the Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. DiAnn continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.


DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.


DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, BookBub, YouTube, LinkedIn. or her website: