Lessons in Writing: Read. A lot.

It’s old advice, but it’s good advice.

As a new writer, I sometimes feel like I’m fumbling in the dark. I have ideas and I even have them nicely organized (thank you One Note), but I don’t feel I quite have my voice.

This is where writing something, anything everyday comes in handy. Find a prompt. Write. Not only are you developing a nice habit to write daily, but you’re finding your voice and fine-tuning your style of writing — or maybe you’re learning a new style.

But sometimes, despite a good prompt and a good idea, the story doesn’t flow the way it does in your head. You have thesaurus.com open in a side tab, but still the story doesn’t feel right.

So look back.

Ignore the grammar and word choice. Is the general story something you like? Imagine how you think one of your favorite authors would write this story. What do you think they would do differently than what you did?

Say your favorite author has the best characters ever. How would your favorite author develop the characters in your story?

Of course, unless you’re best friends with your favorite author, you’ll never know the actual answers to these questions. But that is besides the point. The point is, you know what you like to read. There is a reason that person is your favorite author.

Unsure of exactly why that is?


Read a lot.

Pay attention to what your favorite authors are doing on the pages. How does the world they’ve created unfold? The characters? The romance? etc. etc.

The more you read, the more techniques you’ll discover you like. Now play with all these techniques in your daily writing. Find your voice.

Still not happy?

Keep reading.

Not sure of what to read? Head on over to Book-Addicts and discover something new.

(why yes, that is a shameless plug)

One response

  1. I totally agree with this! And it’s one of the reasons why I’m loving being part of book-addicts with you, Suzan and Cid. I’m being ‘forced’ to read more books than I normally would at any given time. And it has helped me figure out a lot of things about what I like and don’t like and what makes a good story and believable characters.

    August 23, 2010 at 2:41 pm

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