Sometimes people insist that fiction writers should start by writing non-fiction articles first. Some have even insisted they build up their article repertoire before starting on their novel.

I don’t agree. Fiction is a different fish.

Don’t get me wrong, article-writing is good, especially to collect clips and build your writer’s resume. But articles should directly pertain to your brand, genre, or the theme or issue in your novel. That way the clips have weight and meaning when you include them in your bio in a query letter.

If your novel is a deep women’s fiction piece on alcoholism, and you have clips of articles you’ve written on alcoholism in e-zines or print magazines, an editor will feel you’re qualified to write that novel.

If you only have articles on fly-fishing or parenting toddlers, the editor will wonder what that has to do with your novel.

And don’t delay on starting that novel! If you do, it might never happen.