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Thursday, 6 October 2005
Writing lesson, vol. II
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: Instructional
Today, I'm going to try and give you a little more advice on becoming a good writer. Take my advice for what its worth - that of an unpublished author struggling to get published. Any writing tips I offer here are things that have worked for me in the past, and that I think might work for you, too.

One of the things that I have found most helpful in developing my own voice (which is an entirely different lesson altogether) is by reading the works of other authors. I enjoy reading to begin with, so it hasn't been difficult for me to read a lot.

I can hear you now, sitting there at your computer screen saying, "Oh, ok, no biggie. I read (my genre) all the time!" Well, yes and no. It's good that you read within your genre. It gives you an idea of what's going on in the world of publishing in your chosen field, but it also gives you a rather limited view of the publishing world as a whole. And, if you think about it, it's giving you a limited education, as well. If you write fantasy and all you ever read is fantasy, you're finding out what the fantasy agents and publishers were interested in picking up last year, not what they want to buy tomorrow or six months from tomorrow.

Read everything you can get your hands on. Learn character development from a mystery novel, voice from horror, scene-setting from literary works. You can even learn from magazine and newspaper articles. While the style of fiction writing shouldn't be journalistic, the way journalists describe a scene of a crime or disaster or any other happening can teach you a lot about what is important and what isn't important to setting a scene.

Research is also an important component of reading. I personally write in the fantasy genre, but that doesn't preclude me from doing research when the piece calls for it. Ahh, I can hear you again, "But it's fantasy, just make it up!" Nope, can't do that all the time. You want your readers to believe what they're reading, at least while they've got your book in their hands. Doing that requires research (but research is also another topic for another day).

For now, get in the habit of reading, and reading outside your genre. Read for entertainment, but also take note of the author's style, characterization, and the plot devices he or she uses throughout their writing. By understanding these elements in the works of others, you will become a stronger writer yourself, and will be well on your way to developing your own voice and distinct writing style.

Good luck, fellow writers!

Posted by wvwritergirl at 11:40 AM EDT
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink

Sunday, 4 January 2009 - 9:11 PM EST

Name: "Cindy"

Loving this blog and just wanted to say hi though usually lurk.  Wishing you good luck in your endeavors.

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